TIME Crime

3 New Sexual Assault Allegations at Princeton

Amid growing scrutiny into how schools handle it

Three new sexual assaults were reported over the weekend to Princeton University police, at a time when colleges and universities are under increasing national scrutiny for how they handle sexual assault allegations.

Two of the incidents were reported on Friday and one on Saturday, the Times of Trenton reports. Two of the reported incidents—both involving unwanted fondling—allegedly occurred over the last month at eating clubs, co-ed social clubs at Princeton. The third report alleged sexual activity while incapacitated during the 2012-2013 school year.

Reporting of sexual assault is generally considered a good sign because it indicates that the culture at an institution makes victims feel safe to report. Raising reporting has been one of the signature goals of the federal-government’s months-long initiative to improve the handling of sexual assaults on campus.

MORE: The sexual assault crisis on America’s campuses

Princeton has made a number of changes to its handling of sexual assault cases over the last several months, in response to a federal inquiry. It’s unclear if those changes played any role in empowering students to come forward.

In September, under pressure from the federal government, Princeton became the last Ivy League school to lower its standard of proof for sexual assault violations. Following that decision, the school reached a settlement agreement with the federal government ending an investigation into Princeton’s handling of sexual assault. In December, two student officers were stripped of their titles at the Princeton eating club Tiger Inn, after they sent emails ridiculing women including one that contained a sexually explicit photograph.

 

TIME Crime

These Are the Women Forgotten in the Sexual Assault Crisis

Focus on campuses obscures young women not in school

There’s a new wrinkle to the ongoing debate about campus sexual assault: Non-students are actually more likely than students to be victimized, according to new federal data.

The finding, in a Justice Department report released Thursday, comes amid a fierce focus over the last several months on campus sexual assault and the federal government’s efforts to address it. This new data indicates that just as much—if not more—needs to be done to protect young college-aged women who aren’t in school. College-aged women, whether or not they are in school are more likely to be victims of rape and sexual assault than other age groups.

“I think the data shows that all the attention to college rape over the last year has been appropriate because it’s a problem there, but it has been too narrow a focus because we want to make sure we are not leaving out the huge number of people who don’t go to college,” says Scott Berkowitz, president of Rape Abuse & Incest National Network.

MORE: The sexual assault crisis on American campuses

For the period of 1995 to 2013, non-students aged 18-24 were 1.2 times more likely to be victims of sexual assault than their student counterparts, according to the report.

The report contained other interesting findings about the similarities and differences between these two groups of victims. Students and non-students were equally likely to know their attacker (80% in both cases), but non-students were more likely to report it to the police. Eighty percent of student rapes and sexual assaults went unreported to the police compared to 67% for non-students. The finding is particularly interesting because of the debate raging among advocates, public officials and administrators over how best to involve police in campus assault.

“Much of the reform attention has been on the college judicial process,” adds Berkowitz, “but this data really points out that we cannot focus on that at expense criminal justice system, because that would mean abandoning the great many victims who never attend college.”

TIME Crime

Christian University Apologizes to Sexual Assault Victims

BOB JONES UNIVERSITY
People cross over the walkway near the fountains on the campus of Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. on March 1, 2000. Patrick Collard—AP

"We failed to uphold and honor our own core values"

A prominent Christian university in South Carolina apologized to victims of sexual assault and abuse Wednesday ahead of a report released Thursday that documented the school’s failure to adequately respond to their needs.

“On behalf of Bob Jones University, I would like to sincerely and humbly apologize to those who felt they did not receive from us genuine love, compassion, understanding, and support after suffering sexual abuse or assault,” university president Steve Pettit said in an address to students Wednesday. “We did not live up to their expectations. We failed to uphold and honor our own core values.”

MORE: The sexual assault crisis on American campuses

The apology came in advance of a 300-page report published Thursday, drawn from interviews with some 40 victims of sexual abuse or sexual assault at Bob Jones university over four decades. The report paints a picture of an administration that failed to offer them appropriate counsel, and in some instances even made them feel at fault for their abuse.

The report was conducted by an independent organization, GRACE, a non-profit Christian group dedicated to helping the Christian community respond to abuse. “This comprehensive report contains painful disclosures by sexual abuse victims and strong language when describing the impact of the institutional responses to abuse disclosures,” GRACE said.

The report comes after months of scrutiny of colleges and universities across the country, as they try to grapple with mounting calls to reform the institutional response to campus sexual assault.

 

TIME Sexual Assault

This Is What It Looks Like When Women Come Out of the Shadows

The reason for optimism amid more reports of military sexual assault

It could be easy to get discouraged reading about the Pentagon survey Thursday that found reports of sexual assault in the American military are on the rise. But a closer look at the numbers gives reason for optimism: There are more reports of assault because more women are reporting those assaults rather than staying silent.

“This is a remarkable change in terms of victims being willing to talk to people in the military about what happened to them,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of the key advocates of military sexual assault reform in Washington, said Thursday afternoon at a news conference with fellow lawmakers.

Reported assaults hit 5,983 in the 2014 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up 8% from last year and up from 3,604 in 2012. But the proportion of service members who said they were assaulted decreased by roughly 27%. Among those who were assaulted, one in four reported it, a sharp increase from one in 10 in 2012.

MORE: The sexual assault crisis on America’s campuses

Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes in the U.S. because of the stigma survivors face. Raising the rates of reporting, therefore, is a key goal as reformers look to hold perpetrators accountable and reduce the number of assaults. That was true for Congress when it passed a number of reforms to the military’s handling of sexual assault over the last several months. And the rise in reports, along with promising responses from victims about being satisfied by the way their cases were handled, indicates a shift in culture that is moving in the right direction.

The military isn’t the only institution that has seen an increased culture of reporting: higher education is moving in this direction, too. Earlier this year, a government report showed that the number of sex crimes reported by colleges themselves rose 52 percent between 2001 and 2011, with a particularly sharp rise in 2010 and 2011.

MORE: Here’s the real reason college sex reports are rising

The military report was not all good news. Reports of retaliation remained high, especially among peers, raising questions about how much better the broader culture in the military really is.

But at a moment when awareness of violence against women has hit a high water mark after highly publicized incidents on campuses, in the military, in professional sports and in Hollywood, Thursday’s news holds out promise that victims will continue to feel more empowered to come out of the shadows across the country.

TIME Opinion

The Problem With Frats Isn’t Just Rape. It’s Power.

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., Nov. 24, 2014. A Rolling Stone article last week alleged a gang rape at the house which has since suspended operations.
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., on Nov. 24, 2014. A Rolling Stone article alleged a gang rape at the house, which has since suspended operations Steve Helber—AP

Too many frats breed sexism and misogyny that lasts long after college. Why we need to ban them—for good.

At the university I called home my freshman year, fraternity row was a tree-lined street full of Southern style mansions, against a backdrop of the poor urban ghetto that surrounded the school. Off-campus frat parties weren’t quite how I pictured spending my weekends at a new school – I wasn’t actually part of the Greek system – but it became clear quickly that they were the center of the social structure. They controlled the alcohol on campus, and thus, the social life. So there I was, week after week, joining the throngs of half-naked women trekking to fraternity row.

We learned the rules to frat life quickly, or at least we thought we did. Never let your drink out of your sight. Don’t go upstairs – where the bedrooms were housed – without a girlfriend who could check in on you later. If one of us was denied entry to a party because we weren’t deemed “hot” enough – houses often ranked women on a scale of one to 10, with only “sixes” and up granted entry to a party – we stuck together. Maybe we went to the foam party next door.

In two years at the University of Southern California, I heard plenty of stories of women being drugged at frat parties. At least one woman I knew was date raped, though she didn’t report it. But most of us basically shrugged our shoulders: This was just how it worked… right?

If the recent headlines are any indication, it certainly appears so. Among them: women blacked out and hospitalized after a frat party at the University of Wisconsin, only to discover red or black X’s marked on their hands. An email guide to getting girls in bed called “Luring your rapebait.” A banner displayed at a Texas Tech party reading “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal” – which happened to be the same slogan chanted by frat brothers at Yale, later part of a civil rights complaint against the university.

And now, the story of Jackie, who alleged in a Rolling Stone article — swiftly becoming the subject over fairness in reporting whether the author was negligent in not reaching out to the alleged rapists — that she was gang raped by seven members of the Phi Kappa Psi house at the University of Virginia, and discouraged from pressing charges to protect the university’s reputation.

The alleged rape, it turned out, took place at the same house where another rape had occurred some thirty years prior, ultimately landing the perpetrator in jail.

“I’m sick about this,” says Caitlin Flanagan, a writer and UVA alumna who spent a year documenting the culture of fraternity life for a recent cover story in the Atlantic. “It’s been 30 years of education programs by the frats, initiatives to change culture, management policies, and we’re still here.”

Which begs the question: Why isn’t every campus in America dissolving its fraternity program — or at least instituting major, serious reform?

Not every fraternity member is a rapist (nor is every fraternity misogynist). But fraternity members are three times more likely to rape, according to a 2007 study, which notes that fraternity culture reinforces “within-group attitudes” that perpetuate sexual coercion. Taken together, frats and other traditionally male-dominated social clubs (ahem: the Princeton eating club) crystalize the elements of our culture that reinforce inequality, both gender and otherwise.

For starters, they are insulated from outside perspective. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that Greek organizations eradicated whites-only membership clauses; as a recent controversy at the University of Alabama revealed, only one black student had been permitted into that Greek system since 1964. Throughout the country, the fraternities grew into “caste system based on socioeconomic status as perceived by students,” John Chandler, the former president of Middlebury, which has banned frats on campus, recently told Newsweek.

And when it comes to campus social life, they exert huge social control: providing the alcohol, hosting the parties, policing who may enter–based on whatever criteria they choose. Because sororities are prohibited from serving alcohol, they can’t host their own parties; they must also abide by strict decorum rules. So night after night, women line up, in tube tops and high heels, vying for entrance. Even their clothes are a signifier of where the power lies. “Those with less power almost invariably dress up for those who have more,” Michael Kimmel, a sociologist at Stony Brook University, wrote in a recent column for TIME. “So, by day, in class, women and men dress pretty much the same … At parties, though, the guys will still be dressed that way, while the women will be sporting party dresses, high heels and make up.”

And when frat boys grow up? They slide right into the boys club of the business world, where brothers land Wall Street jobs via the “fraternity pipeline,” as a recent Bloomberg Businessweek piece put it — a place where secret handshakes mean special treatment in an already male-dominated field. Fraternities have graduated plenty of brilliant Silicon Valley founders: the creators of Facebook, Instagram, among others. They’ve also brought us Justin Mateen, the founder of Tinder, who stepped down amid a sexual harassment lawsuit, and Evan Spiegel, the Snapchat CEO, whose recently apologized for e-mails sent while in the Stanford frat where Snapchat was founded, which discussed convincing sorority women to perform sex acts and drunkenly peeing on a woman in bed.

(VIDEO: My Rapist Is Still on Campus: A Columbia Undergrad Tells Her Story)

If we lived in a gender-equal world, fraternities might work. But in an age where 1 in five college women are raped or assaulted on campus, where dozens of universities are under federal investigations for their handling of it, and where the business world remains dominated by men, doesn’t the continued existence of fraternities normalize a kind of white, male-dominated culture that already pervades our society? There is something insidious about a group of men who deny women entry, control the No. 1 asset on campus – alcohol – and make the rules in isolated groups. “[Colleges] should be cultivating the kind of sensibility that makes you a better citizen of a diverse and distressingly fractious society,” Frank Bruni wrote it in a New York Times column this week. “How is that served by retreating into an exclusionary clique of people just like you?”

The argument for Greek life – at least for the mainstream, largely white frats that seem to be the problem – goes something like this: It’s about fostering camaraderie. (According to a 2014 Gallup Poll, fraternity and sorority members have stronger relationships with friends and family than other college graduates.) It’s about community: As the Washington Post reported, chapters at UVA reportedly raised $400,000 for charity and logged 56,000 hours of community service during the past academic year. It’s part of a student’s free right to congregate. And also about training future leaders. According to Gallup, fraternity and sorority members will end up better off financially, and more likely to start businesses than other college graduates.

But the real benefit – at least the unspoken one – may be about money. Frats breed generous donors: as Flanagan pointed out in her Atlantic piece, fraternities save universities millions of dollars in student housing. At least one study has confirmed that fraternity brothers also tend to be generous to their alma maters.

All of which is part of the problem. Who wants to crack down on frats if it’s going to profoundly disturb campus life?

UVA, for its part, has suspended the frat in question until the new year, what the Inter-Fraternity Council described as a helpful opportunity for UVA’s Greek system to “take a breath.” The university’s president has said that the school “is too good a place to allow this evil to reside.” But critics saw the punishment as a slap on the wrist: a suspension, when most students are out of town for the holidays?

There are other options on the table: The school is reportedly considering proposals to crack down on underage drinking and even a ban on alcohol. Other universities have explored making fraternities co-ed. And there’s some evidence that fraternity brothers who participate in a rape prevention program at the start of the academic year are less likely to commit a sexually coercive act than a control group of men who also joined fraternities.

Yet all the while, the parade of ugly news continues. A group of frat brothers at San Diego State University interrupted a “Take Back the Night” march last week by screaming obscenities, throwing eggs and waving dildos at marchers. The next night, a woman reported she was sexually assaulted at a party near the school’s campus; she was the seventh person to come forward this semester. And on Monday, Wesleyan announced that its Psi Upsilon fraternity would be banned from hosting social events until the end of 2015, also because of rape accusations.

Fraternities have created something that’s fairly unique in the modern world: a place where young men spend three or four years living with other men whom they have vetted as like them and able to “fit in.” What do you expect to happen at a club where women are viewed as outsiders, or commodities, or worse, as prey, and where men make the rules? It should be no surprise they end up recreating the boys club — and one that isn’t all so great for the boys, either.

Jessica Bennett is a contributing columnist at Time.com covering the intersection of gender, sexuality, business and pop culture. She writes regularly for the New York Times and is a contributing editor on special projects for Sheryl Sandberg’s women’s non-profit, Lean In. You can follow her @jess7bennett.

Read more views on the debate about preventing sexual assault on campus:

Caitlin Flanagan: We Need More Transparency on the Issue of Fraternity Rape

A Lawyer for the Accused on Why Some Rules About Consent Are Unfair to Men

Ban Frat Parties–Let Sororities Run the Show

TIME Education

No Formal Police Investigation Yet in UVA Rape Case

A University of Virginia student looks over postings on the door of Peabody Hall related to the Phi Kappa Psi gang rape allegations at the school in Charlottesville, Va. on Nov. 24, 2014.
A University of Virginia student looks over postings on the door of Peabody Hall related to the Phi Kappa Psi gang-rape allegations at the school in Charlottesville, Va., on Nov. 24, 2014 Steve Helber—AP

Police still "evaluating next steps" as account of incident comes under scrutiny

While questions mount regarding the credibility of an account of an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia (UVA) fraternity, police have yet to open a formal investigation.

University officials have said — as recently as Dec. 2 — that they have been instructed by police not to discuss the specific incident because it is the subject of a police inquiry. But TIME has learned that so far, that inquiry has not crossed the threshold for the Charlottesville Police Department to treat it as a criminal investigation. Because the alleged incident took place at a fraternity house off campus, it falls under the jurisdiction of municipal law enforcement rather than the university’s own campus police.

Police had previously confirmed that UVA president Teresa Sullivan had contacted the department to request a criminal investigation and said they were reviewing a published account of the alleged incident. But police have not yet accumulated enough information to take the matter beyond an inquiry and open a formal investigation.

Asked by TIME for a response, Charlottesville Police spokesman Captain Gary Pleasants said he could not confirm that a formal investigation was under way and reiterated a previous statement that the department was “evaluating the next steps.” He added, “In most cases, a formal investigation would be launched when a victim of a crime or witness to that crime makes a report to the police.”

The latest news about the status of the law-enforcement inquiry comes amid growing criticism of the article that placed UVA into the spotlight for an alleged brutal sexual assault and subsequently resulted in sanctions by the university against fraternities. That account, published by Rolling Stone on Nov. 19, described a gang rape at a fraternity involving seven men and was told through the first person account of a young woman. The story has come under scrutiny in recent days for relying solely on the alleged victim’s account and failing to make any attempts to contact the accused individuals, who were not identified.

TIME Education

UVA President: Eliminate All Booze Except Beer

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. on Nov. 24, 2014.
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. on Nov. 24, 2014. Steve Helber—AP

Following a report detailing an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity, Teresa Sullivan, the school's president, discusses her plans to reform the school's culture in an interview with TIME

In one of her first interviews since the publication of an account of an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity, University President Teresa Sullivan said that fraternities should regulate themselves by limiting alcohol provided at parties to beer and said the university must expand its own social options to provide alternatives to the Greek scene.

The campus of the prestigious public university is still reeling, two weeks after Rolling Stone published the story of a horrific gang rape, igniting protests even as critics have begun to question the nature of the reporting behind the allegation.

On Nov. 22, Sullivan announced she was suspending fraternity social activities until Jan. 9. She said the university would use the period to solicit proposals on the best reforms from students, alumni, faculty and members of the university’s board of trustees.

Since the fraternities operate off campus, they are largely self-regulated. Sullivan said she has been working with student leaders of the fraternities to insure that their governing agreement “has more teeth in it.”

“I’d also give them some other ideas I’d like them to write into their proposal. One would be serving only beer and only in the original container. The days of the trashcan full of punch have to be over,” Sullivan said.

One proposal suggested by the students would require that bedroom doors be locked when fraternities host parties. Another proposal would restructure the university’s bid night–when fraternities give out bids to prospective members each February–which has become an evening of particularly high risk for sexual assault.

Sullivan said reforming fraternities will only solve part of the problems that confront the university, which was once ranked by Playboy magazine as the nation’s top party school.

“It’s a mistake to view the Greek system as monolithic. They are very different from one another. A lot of that leadership comes from some of the Greek houses, so I think it is important when we talk about this, to try not to stereotype them as if the are all exactly the same,” Sullivan said. She added that off-campus housing should also be discussed. “In some ways, apartment culture worries me just as much [as fraternities]. We don’t have any leverage at all, and what’s happening there is as bad or worse.”

The university has little control over what are essentially no different from privately owned homes. The University of Virginia has what is called a Fraternal Organization Agreement with the national fraternities that allows them to get some recognition from the University, but leaves the fraternities to operate independently. For fraternities to consent to increased monitoring they would have to update that agreement.

To solve a lot of these problems, Sullivan hopes to offer more opportunities for students to socialize beyond Greek life. “What students tell me, particularly, is that Saturdays are an issue. Lots of student groups have events on Sundays. Fridays are busy. Saturdays are empty. It is important for us to think about alternative forms of entertainment…We are talking to students and faculty about more ways to encourage a greater variety of student life that is not dominated by one group,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said she would like to improve communication between the university and the Charlottesville police, which has jurisdiction over most of the fraternity houses. “The chief of police and I have talked about a workshop—we both recognize the myths on both sides, we’d like an opportunity to talk about those and improve communications,” Sullivan said.

The university needs to do more to make people feel safe reporting sexual assault, Sullivan said. “We are very interested in changing the culture so that people are more free to come forward and don’t pay a high social cost,” she said. “I think the most important thing for people to understand is how profoundly subversive sexual assault is to our educational vision. It makes it impossible to concentrate on studies while reliving a traumatizing event like this—that’s one of the reasons it has to stop, and it’s under our mission.”

Read next: No Formal Police Investigation Yet in UVA Rape Case

TIME Crime

UVA President Unveils Plan To Protect Women on Campus

George Martin, Teresa Sullivan
University President Teresa Sullivan speaks during a board of visitors meeting about sexual assault at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. on Nov. 25, 2014. Ryan M. Kelly—Daily Progress/AP

"We have a problem"

The president of the University of Virginia announced a number of changes to its policies concerning alcohol, Greek life and campus security Monday, as outrage continues to grow over a Rolling Stone article reporting a gang rape on campus.

“The behavior depicted [in the article] is not something we will accept as normal, and the actions described by seven men in the story have betrayed us. We have a problem, and we are going to get after it,” said UVA President Teresa Sullivan in a hastily-announced address. Sullivan had been set to appear at the National Press Club on Monday, but announced that she would address school affiliates instead.

MORE: The sexual assault crisis on American campuses

Sexual assault training for faculty, meetings with leaders of Greek life, additional funding for trauma counseling and an evaluation of university alcohol policies were among the initiatives announced Monday. See the full address below:

TIME Crime

Report of Gang Rape at Virginia University Reignites Debate on Campus Sexual Assault

"Jackie began to scream"

A chilling new account of a gang rape of a freshman girl at University of Virginia fraternity house serves as a fresh reminder that much of campus sexual assault is not just confused drunken sex between teenagers, but real violent crime.

MORE: The sexual assault crisis on American campuses

The story by Rolling Stone opens with the following disturbing first hand account by a girl called Jackie, who says she was raped by seven men at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house while two other men watched, just four weeks into her freshman year at UVA in 2012.

“Shut up,” she heard a man’s voice say as a body barreled into her, tripping her backward and sending them both crashing through a low glass table. There was a heavy person on top of her, spreading open her thighs, and another person kneeling on her hair, hands pinning down her arms, sharp shards digging into her back, and excited male voices rising all around her. When yet another hand clamped over her mouth, Jackie bit it, and the hand became a fist that punched her in the face. The men surrounding her began to laugh. For a hopeful moment Jackie wondered if this wasn’t some collegiate prank. Perhaps at any second someone would flick on the lights and they’d return to the party.

“Grab its motherf—ing leg,” she heard a voice say. And that’s when Jackie knew she was going to be raped.

The story is graphic, disturbing, and may be traumatizing for anyone who has experienced a sexual assault. Beyond the horrific account, the story goes on to use Jackie’s experience, other assaults at UVA, and observations from experts to show the ways in which UVA seems to cover up sexual assault. UVA president Teresa Sullivan denied the school was involved in any cover up of sexual assault, telling Rolling Stone: “If we’re trying to hide the issue, we’re not doing a very good job of it.”

Read more at Rolling Stone

TIME Sexual Assault

The Troubling Statistic in MIT’s Sex Assault Survey

MIT Campus Sexual Assault
The main entrance to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. Rick Friedman—Corbis

Many students were uncertain about what qualified as sexual violence -- even the ones who experienced assault

A new survey of student experiences with sexual assault at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is an encouraging step for schools working to put an end to the shamefully widespread problem of campus rape.

That the prestigious school released the study publicly is helpful in erasing the stigma surrounding sexual assault. And the numbers show that even an institution far better known for Fields Medals than frat parties has an incidence of campus rape comparable to other colleges. Roughly 35% of MIT’s 11,000 graduates and undergraduates took the anonymous survey. Of the undergrads, about 17% of women and 5% of men reported experiencing sexual assault while at the Massachusetts school.

But a deeper look at the numbers points to a more troubling statistic. Even though 17% of female undergraduates reported an experience that fits the survey’s definition of sexual assault (“unwanted sexual behaviors … involving use of force, physical threat, or incapacitation”), only 11% of female undergraduates checked “yes” when asked directly if they had been “raped” or “sexually assaulted.” Despite a concerted effort by the Obama Administration, state officials and campus leaders, MIT students were uncertain about what qualified as sexual violence — even when reporting that they had experienced assault.

Sadly, that’s not exactly surprising. Experts say there are numerous reasons students struggle to understand the definition of sexual assault, including denial about the experience and and the hesitation to apply the label to attackers or those who experience it. “There is still such a stigma to be a ‘rape victim’ or a ‘rapist,'” says Jane Stapleton, a University of New Hampshire researcher and expert in sexual assault prevention.

The MIT survey also indicated a tendency among undergraduates to blame victims, including themselves, for assaults that had taken place. Fifteen percent of female undergraduate respondents and 25% of male undergraduates said that a drunk person who is assaulted is “at least somewhat responsible” for what happened, while 31% of female undergraduate respondents and 35% of males said they believed that sexual assault and rape “happen because men can get carried away in sexual situations once they’ve started.”

Of students who said they had been assaulted, many blamed themselves, which may explain why so few of them decided to report the incident. Of the assault victims, 72% said they didn’t think it was “serious enough to officially report” and 44% said they “felt they were at least partly at fault or it wasn’t totally the other person’s fault.”

These attitudes are somewhat incongruous with the fact that assault victims also reported having felt a great deal of trauma because of the assault–35% reported being unable to complete assignment and 30% reported being unable to eat. Only about 5% of respondents to MIT’s survey reported the experience to someone in an official capacity.

MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart says part of the challenge in reducing assault is educating students about all the forms it takes. “We can’t prevent what is not agreed upon by everyone,” she says.

Barnhart says that MIT has had an increase in reported sexual misconduct since the survey was advertised last spring, a sign that awareness is growing.

Still, as Stapleton says, “it’s going to take time to change the culture.”

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser