AAU releases massive sexual assault study
The results of a campus-wide student survey show that the few who participated are not aware of how the University of Michigan defines and addresses sexual assault.
“Overall, 23.3% of students at University of Michigan are very or extremely knowledgeableabout how the university defines sexual assault and sexual misconduct...A smallerpercentage (9.3%) knows what happens when a student makes areport of sexual assaultor sexual misconduct,” states the study results. Though thousands of students were asked to participate, only 17.6% completing the survey.
The study was sponsored by the Association of American Universities (AAU) in April and released September 21 along with the aggregate results from a combined 27 colleges which participated in a nationwide survey. According to the AAU, the massive study was designed to assess the “overall climate of the campus with respect to perceptions of risk, knowledge of resources available to victims and perceived reactions to an incident of sexual assault or misconduct.”
According to the University of Michigan survey, the primary reason students gave for not reporting a case of sexual assault or misconduct was that the incident was not considered serious enough, including 63.6 percent who claimed they had been subjected to “penetrative acts involving force.”
“For victims of nonconsensual sexual touching due to physical force, 76.5 percent felt the incident was not serious enough to report, 14 percent felt embarrassed and 25.6 percent did not think anything could be done about it,” the report states.
The University of Michigan study asked students questions about instances of “nonconsensual sexual contact” including an “absence of affirmative consent.” According to the report, this data was collected to “capture emerging university regulations.” The University of Michigan is currently reviewing its “Policy on Sexual Misconduct Among Students.”
“[The study] is basically saying that these students were in violation of policies that they never even knew about,” said Gina Lauterio, a policy project director for Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), a sexual assault advocacy group,
The University of Michigan did not respond to a request for comment.
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