National Statistics about Sexual Violence on College Campuses

The theme for Sexual Assault Awareness Month(SAAM) 2010 is Prevent Sexual Violence…on our campuses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 20 to 25 percent of college women in the United States experience attempted or completed rape during while in college.

The following statistics give a sense of the extent of this problem (via New York University Student Health Center):

  • One in 4 college-aged women report experiences that meet the legal definitions of rape or attempted rape.
  • One in 5 college women are raped during their college years.
  • Most survivors of sexual assaults are full-time students. Approximately one-third of them are first year students between 17-19 years old.
  • In survey of 412 college students, it was found that 11.7% of gay or bisexual men and 30.6% of the lesbian or bisexual women indicated that they had been forced to have sex against their will at some point in their lives.
  • 81% of women who were stalked by a current or former partner were also physically assaulted by that same partner (US Department of Justice, 1998)
  • 80-90% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by individuals known to the survivor.
  • 85% of rapes are committed by a person the victim knows.
  • In a recent study by the National Institute of Justice, survivors of rape knew their attackers as:
      Fellow classmates (35.5%)
      Friends (34.2%)
      Boyfriends or ex-boyfriends (23.7%)
      Acquaintances (2.6%)
  • One in 12 college men admitted to committing acts that met the legal definition of rape.
  • More than one in 5 men report “becoming so sexually aroused that they could not stop themselves from having sex,” even though the woman did not consent.
  • 35% of men report some likelihood that they would rape if they could be assured they wouldn’t be caught or punished.
  • 81% of on-campus and 84% of off-campus sexual assaults are not reported to the police.
  • Fewer than 5% of attempted/completed rapes are reported to law enforcement.
  • Nearly 60% of rapes occur in the survivor’s residence hall.
  • 52% of reported rapes/sexual assaults occur after midnight; 37% occur between 6pm and midnight.
  • In a survey of students at 171 institutions of higher education, alcohol was involved in 74% of all sexual assaults.


    Foubert, J. (2000) The Men’s Program: How to Successfully Lower Men’s Likelihood of Raping. Holmes Beach, FL: Learning Publications, Inc.

    Karjane, H.K., Fisher, B.S., and Cullen F.T. (2002) Campus Sexual Assault: How America’s Institutions of Higher Education Respond. Final Report, NIJ Grant #1999-WA-VX-0008. Newton, MA: Education Development Center, Inc.

    Ottens, A.J. and Hotelling, K. (2001) Sexual Violence On Campus: Policies, Programs, and Perspectives. New York: Springer Publishing Company, Inc.

    Grants to Reduce Violent Crimes Against Women on Campus 2002. US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Violence Against Women Office. The Sexual Victimization of College Women-Bonnie S. Fisher, Francis T. Cullen, Michael G. Turner. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000.

    If you are a college student or work on a college campus, are you aware of this as a concern? What is your school doing to address this issue?

This entry was posted in Abuse, Psychologist, Rape, Sexual Abuse, Trauma, Violence, Women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to National Statistics about Sexual Violence on College Campuses

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Amazing that no one has left any comments.

    I am a Psychology/Sociology student working on a paper about sexual assault on college campuses and I came across this page as a resource of statistics.

    To answer your question regarding what my campus is doing about this problem, we have a Women’s Center that is quite visible on campus. I am a student at the Univ. of Hawai’i at Manoa and our Women’s Center has many different events and programs designed to help women in need. One of these is called the “PAU Violence” program, which is a visible force on campus that conducts events throughout the year to show the student population the prevalence of this issue. Also, they have programs designed to involve men to show their support and commitment to protect the women in their lives.

    I hope that in the years to come, we can get programs like these on every college campus, because the statistics show how much of an epidemic issue this really is.

    – Student for Change

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