As home to top colleges in America, such as Yale, Connecticut residents feel compelled to pay attention to statistics affecting students across the country. In 2015, Forbes reported that one former Penn State student made the news after filing a suit against his fraternity and university for activities involving sexual abuse and assault.
The perpetrators he named surprised few people: the fraternity on his campus. The suit alleged that not only did the fraternity use drugs and alcohol to facilitate the abuse, but the university failed to take immediate and responsible action.
Over the past few years, sexual assault on campuses has remained a controversial topic. The use of substances by underage students as well as how to define consent frequently pops up in these discussions. Universities and judges also face criticism for often protecting the fraternities and athletes who participate in these activities, as was the case with People v. Turner back in 2016.
CNN reports that sexual assault is on the rise. In 2007, a study claimed that 1 in 5 women reported sexual assault on campus. Activists and even President Obama cited this source in the bid to address the issue on college campuses. However, a 2015 study now claims that 23% of women report sexual assault on campus, which raises the prevalence to almost 1 in 4. At Yale, the prevalence of sexual assault climbed to an embarrassing result of nearly 1 in 3 at 32%.
Researchers also noted that many of the women assaulted did not step forward. More than 50% of the women who suffered the more serious forms of sexual assault did not report the incident because they did not believe it was serious enough to warrant legal intervention. Some feared embarrassment, shame or blame for the incident if it became public.
It is unclear whether or not Yale and other universities have since taken better steps to address the problem. Ultimately, the only real judge of their effectiveness is a lower prevalence score on the next survey involving sexual assault on campuses.