AAUW Speaks on Troublesome Campus Sexual Assault Data at the National Press Club

January 25, 2016

“When campus environments are hostile because of sexual harassment and violence, students can’t learn. It’s that simple and it’s that devastating. Schools have an important and necessary role to play in addressing this epidemic,” said AAUW Vice President of Government Relations Lisa Maatz at the National Press Club’s Newsmaker Conference on January 14. The Press Club invited AAUW experts to speak on campus sexual assault policy trends, an issue we have long researched and advocated.

Watch video on C-SPAN.

Along with Maatz, AAUW Government Relations Manager Anne Hedgepeth spoke to a full audience of press and local AAUW members on much-needed legislation to help end sexual assault on college campuses. They also described AAUW’s recent analysis of sexual violence data released by the U.S. Department of Education as required by the Clery Act.

Maatz pointed out that “campus sexual assault is not new, but the heightened attention to it is.” Many are familiar with the disturbing statistic that 1 in 5 women is sexually assaulted during college, but less well known is that more than 1 in 5 college women experiences physical abuse, sexual abuse, or threats of physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Newly reported data indicate that the annual statistics collected by colleges and universities still do not tell the full story of sexual violence on campus. Our own analysis found that 91 percent of colleges reported zero incidents of rape in 2014.

AAUW in the News

Tracking Sexual Assault on Campus

WJLA, ABC7, Washington, D.C.
December 1, 2015

American Association of University Women Challenges Federal Data on College Sexual Assault

Courtney Kueppers, the Washington Post
January 14, 2016

Campus Sexual Assault Data Questioned

Chris Gordan, the Washington Post
January 14, 2016

91 Percent of Colleges Report Zero Incidents of Rape

Campus Safety
January 19, 2016

Since the Clery Act was updated with the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, schools are also required required to report dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking incidents on campuses nationwide. But in these categories as well, only about 10 percent of college campuses disclosed a reported incident in 2014. “Zeros are the red flag in how schools handle sexual assault. Having a high number of campuses reporting zero doesn’t match with information AAUW hears about campus sexual assault,” said Hedgepeth.

The reauthorized law’s campus safety provisions — sometimes called Campus SaVE or the VAWA Amendments to the Clery Act — are supported by final regulations that went into effect in July 2015, which require colleges and universities to take new and better steps to end sexual violence.

At AAUW, we remain committed to fighting for equitable climates free of harassment and bullying, as well as freedom from violence and fear of violence in schools. This commitment will continue into the current Congress as we advocate for legislation to finally end campus sexual assault nationwide. For more information on how you can influence the debate, visit AAUW’s Action Network.

The full 2014 data set is available online from the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, every school’s annual security report should contain this information; look it up on your local campus’ website.


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