Sexual Assault Among College Students

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Universities all over the country have actively participated in preventative efforts towards relieving the crisis of the formidable amount of sexual assaults that occur on U.S. college campuses. Sexual assault among college students—as both victims and perpetrators—is an epidemic that has been identified and acknowledged as problematic for several decades. As an ongoing and consistent problem, there is little empirical evidence indicating that sexual violence prevention initiatives to date have been effective. The U.S. National Institute of Justice (NIJ) estimates that between one-fifth and one-quarter of college women are victims of sexual assault, including attempted or completed rape (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000). Recent research …show more content…

In order to begin addressing these issues, Indiana University launched a multi-pronged Student Welfare Initiative, developed a separate Office of Title IX and Student Welfare, and also revised and widely distributed new campus sexual misconduct policies. Indiana University defines sexual misconduct as, “To include sexual harassment, sexual assault, other forms of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and sexual exploitation and stalking. For purposes of this policy, sex or gender based discrimination is considered sexual misconduct.” (Indiana University, 2015). In comparison, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ; 2010) defines sexual violence as referring to “a specific constellation of crimes including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape.” Within this constellation of crimes, sexual violence includes any form of sexualized penetration, threats of physical force, and/or use of actual force that is attempted or completed upon a nonconsensual victim (not dependent on the condition of said victim) committed by a stranger, acquaintance, friend, family member, or intimate partner. In short, the legal criteria for rape is relatively clear (Karjane, Fisher, & Cullen, 2005; Koss, Gidcyz, & Wisniewski, 1987; Russell & Bolen, 2000), but a knowledge gap remains between these legal definitions and those individuals who experience sexual

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