All schools should target sex assault

by Daily Editorial Board

On college campuses, underreporting of sexual assault is as much of an epidemic as the crime itself, recent studies suggest.
 
Analysis of recently released annual campus crime statistics found 91 percent of colleges disclosed that they handled zero reports of rape in 2014. The University of Minnesota reported 13 cases of rape at its Twin Cities campus last year.
 
Nationally, 68 percent of sexual assaults go unreported.
 
Earlier this fall, a national study that surveyed 150,000 students across 27 universities revealed 23 percent of female undergraduates experienced sexual assault since they entered school.
 
It also found that about one-third of victim-survivors did not report forced penetration because they “did not think anything would be done about it.” Less than half of the students surveyed said they believed reporting would yield a fair investigation or action against the offender by campus officials.
 
There are numerous reasons why victim-survivors might not report the incident, including feeling ashamed or embarrassed, fearing retaliation or doubt, getting another student into trouble or revisiting trauma.
 
Distrust that law enforcement or a university can and will appropriately handle the investigation, sanctioning and discipline of sexual assault should not be among the reasons why victim-survivors choose not to report.
 
We commend universities that actively encourage students to report crime and provide the support resources that victim-survivors need to heal.
 
But we also think that until colleges find ways to demonstrate they have zero tolerance for rape on campus, campuses will continue to see victim-survivors suffer in silence rather than seek justice.