Domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking are serious problems on campuses, as they are across the nation.
Unlike their counterparts in the larger community, students victimized by other students often face additional challenges in a “closed” campus environment. For example, a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking may continue to live in danger if the perpetrator resides in the same dormitory or attends the same classes.
On smaller campuses, a victim may wish to remain anonymous but may find this to be virtually impossible in such an insular environment. Similarly, stalking victims may find it difficult to escape their tormentors, because the stalker may have a seemingly “legitimate” reason for remaining in contact with or in proximity to the victim (e.g., studying in the library).
The fear and anguish suffered by rape victims may continue if they attend the same classes or live in the same dormitory as the perpetrator. In other cases, a victim may be harassed by classmates or by a perpetrator’s friends who claim the victim “asked for it” or “provoked” the crime. Even changing class schedules or living arrangements may not eliminate the threat of encountering the perpetrator on campus.
Survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking from diverse communities frequently confront additional challenges when seeking assistance.
Victims with disabilities may struggle with obstacles, such as shelters that cannot physically accommodate them. International students, or the spouses or partners of international students, may face linguistic or cultural barriers to obtaining services. Likewise, victims from racial, ethnic or religious minority groups may fear discrimination when they attempt to obtain services.
•In 2001, more than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 were victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. More than 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 were assaulted by another student who had been drinking.
•Victims of rape/sexual assault were about four times more likely to be victimized by someone they knew rather than by a stranger.
•White college students had somewhat higher rates of violent victimization than black students and higher rates than students of other races.
•13% of college women were stalked at some point between the fall of 1996 and the spring of 1997. Four in five campus-stalking victims knew their stalkers, and three in 10 college women reported being injured emotionally or psychologically from being stalked.
•In 2003, crimes occurring in on-campus residence halls included 955 assaults, 1,808 forcible sex offenses and 24 non-forcible sex offenses.
•Most crimes against students (93%) occurred off campus, 72 percent of those crimes were at night.
•Hate and bias crimes reported on school and college campuses made up almost 14% of all hate and bias crimes reported throughout the United States in 2005.