There were 17 campus rapes reported at UT Austin in 2014
But victim advocates say it shows more people are coming forward
In 2014 alone there were 17 reported cases of rape on campus. That’s 0.3 rapes for every 1000 students.
The data, which is available on the U.S. Department of Education website, is the first of its kind that parents and students can obtain. Due to a recent change to federal disclosure rules, specific information on the volume of rape reports for each US campus is now widely available.
Previously, the information supplied simply came under the vague title of “forcible sex offenses”, which covered a wide variety of crimes. Now, rape reports are marked out as a separate statistic.
And the definition of rape used matches what the FBI use for its ‘Uniform Crime Reporting’ analysis: “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim”.
In terms of overall rape reports, Brown and UConn are seen to top the 2014 data, tying on 43 rape reports on their respective main campuses. Following those colleges, Dartmouth College closely followed with 42 reports. Harvard also made the top 10 at 33 reports of rape. Stanford came in at 10th, which is significant considering the current media storm surrounding Brock Turner and the victim’s rape letter.
The data, when analyzed by averaging out the rape report totals with the size of enrollment, places Dartmouth as the only Ivy to make the top 10 of the list. Reed College, which only has about 1,400 students, topped the list at 12.9 reports per 1,000 students enrolled.
Having a high number of rape reports isn’t, however, necessarily an entirely bad thing. Victim advocates argue that an increasing number of reports indicates that more students who have experienced a sexual assault are telling the authorities of their experience, whereas beforehand they may have been too afraid to come forward and it would have remained unreported.
New York University, for example, recorded zero on-campus rapes in 2014. There were, however, six reports at off-campus student properties. NYU Spokesman, John Beckman, responded: “While everyone would want to see all incidents reported, we have no indication that students at NYU are any less likely to report sexual misconduct than students elsewhere; and certainly, we provide a lot of services to try to encourage complainants to come forward”.