Reported rapes at Boston College doubled last year
Annual Clery Report indicates increases in reported rapes, burglaries, and other crimes
The number of reported rapes in dorms and residential facilities on campus more than doubled, from 11 to 23, last year.
Boston College’s Annual Clery Security Report showed this increase occurred between 2013 and 2014.
The report also indicates burglaries more than doubled, from 2 to 5. Drug violations doubled as well, from 2 to 4. Interestingly, there was a slight decrease in the most common offense on BC’s campus, liquor law violations. The number went down from 1,082 in 2013 to 889 last year.
The alarming increase in reported on-campus rapes may not mean that more incidents of rape have occurred, however.
Katie Dalton, Director of the Boston College Women’s Center, said: “The way we have marketed resources for bystander intervention, such as working with the ResLife office, has allowed more people to get information on resources.”
Catherine Larrabee, a senior and member of the Women’s Center staff, added: “First year students now seem to know more about on-campus resources than they did four years ago, because of the exposure of Bystander Intervention and the prevalence of the sexual assault conversation.”
With more knowledge of the resources available to them, students now may be more likely to report sexual assault when it happens.
An example of the marketing efforts made by the Women’s Center to increase awareness of on-campus resources is their work to “humanize SANet, [Boston College’s sexual assault hotline], by making it known that whoever you talk to when you call gives you no direction on what to do next, which helps to take the stigma away from sexual assault,” says Dalton.
While a SANet Hotline Advocate can describe on-campus reporting options for a formal complaint of misconduct, they will never try to force a caller into reporting an incident.
Regarding the increased reports of rape on campus, Katie said: “We see it as a good thing, but our hope is that our bystander work hits a tipping point, and there are less assaults occurring overall.”
The Clery Act is a federal law, signed in 1990, requiring all colleges and universities to disclose statistics about crimes on or around campus. Every university is required to release an Annual Clery Security Report each year.
The Tab will continue to cover issues of women’s health, sexual assault, and consent on campus.