Sexual violence widespread at 33 universities, survey finds
© Yale University | Michael Marsland

Approximately 25 percent of undergraduate women report being victims of sexual violence since they started college, according to a new survey analyzing data from 33 universities.

Among female undergraduates, 25.9 percent said they had experienced nonconsensual contact either through being physically forced or because they weren’t able to give consent, according to the Association of American Universities (AAU) survey released Tuesday. About 6.8 percent of male undergraduates reported being victims of similar incidents.

The survey used data from 33 universities, including half of the Ivy League’s eight members — Harvard, Yale, Brown and the University of Pennsylvania — and other major campuses including the University of Virginia and Washington University in St. Louis, The Washington Post reports.

About 181,000 students responded to a confidential online questionnaire.


“The results provide cause for both hope and continued concern,” AAU President Mary Sue Coleman said in a statement. “They reveal that while students know more about university-sponsored resources for victims of sexual assault and misconduct, they still aren’t using these resources often enough.”

The survey is the group’s second to be published in recent years. The Post reports that its results show similar patterns of campus sexual misconduct as earlier findings, however students in the most recent survey seem to know more about what sexual assault is and how to find help.

Many students who are victims of sexual violence still don’t report the incidents to officials, researchers found, for reasons including shame, feeling they can handle it on their own or that they didn’t think the event was that serious.