IU Bloomington releases findings of first-ever student sexual assault climate survey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University has released the findings of the first-ever climate survey on sexual assault conducted at its Bloomington campus.
All students were invited to complete the comprehensive survey in November 2014 as part of Indiana University’s ongoing commitment to effectively addressing the issue of sexual assault. IU Bloomington’s Community Attitudes and Experiences with Sexual Assault Survey asked students about their attitudes, perceptions and direct experiences with sexual assault, as well as their opinions on the university resources and practices related to preventing and dealing with instances of sexual misconduct.
More than 7,100 students -- representing 17 percent of the IU Bloomington student population -- completed at least 50 percent of the survey and had their responses included in the findings released today. In all, more than 9,600 students completed some portion of the survey.
“Many of the findings in this survey, while consistent with national trends on this challenging issue, were very sobering and speak to the need for even greater attention and resources to be focused on problems associated with sexual assault on college campuses,” Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie said.
“The information gathered through this survey has already been used to inform the university’s ongoing prevention, education and response efforts, and to move us closer to the ultimate goal of eliminating sexual violence that affects our campus community -- and we will further use this data to help drive our efforts moving forward.”
Student participants provided a variety of demographic and personal information that will help guide IU’s efforts in this area. About 16 percent of undergraduates and 20 percent of graduate students completed at least 50 percent of the survey. In nominal terms, 72 percent of the survey participants were undergraduates and 28 percent were graduate students. Sixty-two percent were women and 38 percent were men.
In many ways, findings from the IU Bloomington Community Attitudes and Experiences with Sexual Assault Survey were generally consistent with similar surveys conducted at other universities. The percentage of undergraduate women participants who reported experiencing attempted or completed nonconsensual sexual penetration (17 percent) is somewhat below the widely cited national figure of 20 percent. The prevalence of alcohol use in instances of sexual misconduct and the fact that an overwhelming majority of the women participants who experienced sexual misconduct did not report it to university officials are also consistent with findings from surveys conducted at other universities.
“Student safety is a top priority for all of us at the IU Bloomington campus,” Provost Lauren Robel said. “We are committed to becoming a leader in sexual assault prevention and in providing support to our students who have been the victim of these crimes.
“We must do more to create a climate that sends the unmistakable message that any form of sexual misconduct is unacceptable,” she said. “We also must continue to build on our already considerable efforts to provide a campus environment where victims of sexual misconduct are comfortable reporting their experiences and have confidence in the university’s ability to effectively investigate and resolve their complaints, and feel supported within their community.”
One particularly noteworthy finding from the survey is that the percentage of undergraduate students who experienced some form of nonconsensual sexual contact -- ranging from inappropriate touching to attempted or completed nonconsensual sexual penetration -- before coming to IU mirrors the percentage who indicated they have experienced similar types of misconduct at IU.
“The responses clearly reflect that many of our students have been confronted with sexual assault before arriving on campus,” said Leslie Fasone, assistant dean for women’s and gender affairs and the lead administrator on the climate survey. “Just as we have a broad responsibility to provide resources and information to our students regarding sexual assault, and to create a safe environment, it is also clear that these issues must be aggressively addressed in our secondary schools and communities.”
Survey participants also were asked their views on resources available to them related to sexual assault, their general opinions on the safety of the Bloomington campus and community, and the level of confidence they had in the university when it came to effectively preventing and dealing with sexual assault.
A large majority of the undergraduate participants, both female and male, reported they had participated in at least one program, class or event designed to educate them on topics related to sexual assault, while two-thirds of undergraduate women said they knew how to get immediate help if they had experienced a sexual assault and felt the university would take them seriously if they reported a sexual assault.
Large percentages of students felt they had a role to play in addressing sexual assault on campus and indicated that they were involved, or planned to get involved, in efforts to combat the problem. Similarly, fewer than 5 percent of the participants felt that addressing sexual assault was the sole responsibility of the university, although about half of all students felt the university could do more to keep them safe.
Other key findings:
- 17 percent of the undergraduate women participants and 6 percent of the graduate women participants reported experiencing attempted or completed nonconsensual sexual penetration while at IU. Among men participants, the figure was 2 percent for undergraduate men and 1 percent for graduate men.
- 29 percent of the undergraduate women and 7.6 percent of undergraduate men participants reported experiencing some form of nonconsensual sexual touching, such as unwanted kissing or fondling, while at IU.
- 29 percent of the undergraduate women participants reported experiencing some form of nonconsensual sexual touching while at IU, on par with the percentage of undergraduate women who experienced some form of nonconsensual sexual touching before coming to IU.
- 35 percent of the undergraduate women and 34 percent of the graduate women participants reported being the victims of some form of sexual harassment while at IU.
- 86 percent of the undergraduate women and 85 percent of the graduate women participants who reported experiencing some form of nonconsensual sexual contact did not report the incident to anyone at IU.
- Among the undergraduate women participants who did not report incidents of completed or attempted nonconsensual sexual penetration, 45 percent said the incident was not “serious enough to disclose to others.” 29 percent of graduate women participants reported similarly.
- Alcohol and/or drug use by one party or both was present in between 60 and 83 percent of the incidents of reported sexual misconduct.
- Among the undergraduate women participants who reported being sexually assaulted at IU, 23 percent said the incident occurred on campus (in a residence hall, outside or in other location); 23 percent at a fraternity or sorority house or event; and nearly half at an off-campus location such as a residence, event, bar, club or restaurant.
- 50 percent of all student participants indicated that they felt they could play a role in curbing sexual violence on campus.
- 67 percent of the undergraduate women and 70 percent of graduate women participants said they feel safe on the IU campus.
- 52 percent of the undergraduate women participants feel IU officials should do more to protect students from harm.
The complete findings from the climate survey have been posted to the university’s sexual violence prevention website. The findings also will be shared with students and the broader campus community in the coming weeks through a series of meetings and events, and used to shape future programming and strategies related to sexual assault prevention.
Associate vice president, IU Communications
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