A study conducted at a private university in New York shows that one in five women (19 percent) have been a victim of sexual assault. The assault includes forcible attempted of completed rape or rape while the victim was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This sexual violence occurred during their first year on campus.
The authors of the study did not reveal the name of the university but it was reported that it was a large one in upstate New York. The study involved conducting surveys with 483 freshman year women. Their ages varied from 18 to 21. They were asked to take part in a study about women’s health and had to answer a series of questions regarding sexual behavior, suicidal attempts and alcohol consumption. They answered these questions three times, once at the beginning of the year, once during the spring break and once at the end. The results showed that 15.4 percent of them had been a victim of sexual assault while incapacitated and 9 percent were victims of either attempted or completed rape.
The authors of the study, who are researchers at Brown and Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, mentioned that their study is not one of a kind but their method of conducting surveys was the innovative part of it. The fact that the women had to answer those questions a short time after the experiences, might diminish the “recall bias,” according to professor of behavioral and social sciences at Brown University’s School of Public Health Kate Carey, who is also the lead author of the study.
Even if the statistics that say one in five women has been a victim of a sexual assault are not new, this new research narrows the term of sexual assault down to attempted or completed rape, either forced upon the victim or when she was incapacitated.
The study still has its limits, given the fact that only the women from one particular campus were targeted, but this does not mean that the numbers are not worrying. Professor Kate Carey believes that even if patterns might not be exactly the same from one campus to another, such surveys can help us get a more general picture of what is going on in these campuses. Moreover, such results call for immediate action, which includes prevention from early ages, especially given the fact that, according to the study, 28 percent of the women interviewed said that they had been victims of rape before college. This basically means that one in three women have been raped in classroom full of sophomore students. Thus, if something is not done about it, these numbers will just continue growing.
The results of the study were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
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