Survey Reaffirms Sexual Assault Stats at UO and Other Schools, Shows Students Don’t Believe Reports Taken Seriously

The American Association of Universities, of which the University of Oregon is a member, has released the “aggregate results of the Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, a survey it undertookin partnership with 27 universities.

The results show that an often-cited, and often-disputed statistic that says one in five women are sexually assaulted during their colleges years, is accurate at the UO and elsewhere. It also shows that half of the students at the UO don’t think the school would take the report of a sexual assault seriously.

The AAU says it is up to the individual university to release its results. The UO has done so, and the school admits in its press release that “The UO data is consistent with results from two local surveys conducted by UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd in 2014 and 2015.”

Freyd, a UO professor well-known researcher on institutional betrayal, offered to conduct a climate survey for the school in 2014 because the school said, “university was concerned that the survey data could be biased because of Freyd’s personal opinions and because Freyd did not collaborate with UO employees who work with sexual violence victims on campus.”

Freyd went on to conduct that survey and a second one was . The UO says it will use all the information in both the AAU and Freyd’s surveys “to continue to improve its prevention, response and investigative efforts, as well as review policies to improve awareness and safety.”

According to the UO, Freyd’s 2015 survey showed that:

“One in five undergraduate women in the new survey reported attempted or completed unwanted sexual penetration, almost identical to 2014. However, there was a decline, from 35 percent to 28 percent, in the reporting of attempted and completed physical contact of any type in the new survey.

Fifty-two percent of 795 undergraduates who completed the 2015 survey were “not at all” aware that the UO had Title IX officers to handle complaints about sexual issues; 50 percent did not know a bias-response team existed. There also was lack of awareness about student legal services and sexual assault support services.”

The AAU survey showed that “14.5 percent of student respondents reported experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force, threats of force or incapacitation since enrolling.” The survey found that incidents were much higher among women — 24.2 percent of undergraduate female students reported nonconsensual sexual contact, and 10.6 percent said they had experience nonconsensual penetration.

Like Freyd’s survey, the AAU statistic for the UO showed that students are not aware of where they can get help: “Only 34.8 percent of UO students reported they are very knowledgeable about where to get help if they experience sexual assault or misconduct, and only 26.8 percent are very or extremely knowledgeable about where to report an incident.”

And chilling in light of recent high-profile sexual assault cases on campus that involved the school accessing student counseling records — and in one case simply dropping the case for the summer, leaving the survivor in limbo — is the information that “less than half of students said they believe campus officials would take reports of sexual assault or misconduct seriously.”

Full AAU results can be accessed here. The UO results are here. And information from Jennifer Freyd’s survey is here.

The UO’s web page for reporting or getting help after a sexual assault is here.