College rape under-reported by colleges

The U should maximize resources for reporting sexual assault.

Taqee Khaled

Thanks to Student Affairs Vice Provost Jerry Rinehart and Aurora Center Director Jamie Tiedemann for their Tuesday Sept. 7 letter to the editor on domestic violence. I wanted to take the opportunity to follow their piece and note the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent study entitled “Acquaintance Rape of College Students.” The study uncovered some striking statistics that are significant for University of Minnesota students and administrators. 

Among the most salient figures was the finding that up to 25 percent of women will experience rape prior to graduation. Women 16 to 24 experience rape at a rate four times greater than all women combined. The study also found rape is underreported on a vast scale by colleges and universities themselves. This is perhaps the worst part of the equation because we have to remember that when an act of violence goes unreported in official capacity, the effect on reporting by individual victims is heavily affected. 

Why would anyone report a traumatic event when it would put intimate details into public record and have little meaningful outcome? I hope that this University is tangibly committed to maximizing sexual assault reporting and resources so victims can have confidence their situation actually matters. Given a culture of underreporting, shame and fear of retribution is real and already exists. The University must consider new and/or creative kinds of outreach and resources to ensure it does not suffer from underreporting found in the study.

This report is not entirely new information, but it is a clarion call to action. I invite the University and the Aurora Center to make college rape a renewed focal point of student outreach and education. Let us, together, make sure the University is a place where rapists have little hope of anonymity.

Taqee Khaled

undergraduate student