Nationwide survey takes a look at sexual assault on college campuses

TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW) -- 33 universities participated in the Association of American Universities' survey on sexual assault and misconduct.

It found the rate of non-consensual sexual contact on campuses increased since their last survey in 2015.

While more students are aware of victim resources only 45% of survivors said they believe school officials would take their report seriously.

"Their initial thought is no one is going to believe that this happened to me. And so they initially kind of...and in some ways they can hardly believe that it happened to themselves,” Michelle McCormick with the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment.

KU was one of the participating schools. More than a fourth of women said they were assaulted since coming on campus compared to about four percent of men.

However, the school says the number of students who know how to file a sexual harassment complaint and who to talk to has increased from 20.3% to 62.2%.

In a statement the University said the results "demonstrate that KU is making progress in some areas but still has a long way to go in others,” Tamara Durham, vice provost for student affairs.

McCormick wants students to know there are free and confidential resources available on some campuses and in the community.

"If you come to an agency like our agency, the YWCA, we aren't going to force anyone to make a report. We want them to make that choice of their own free will. And we would support them if they did want to,” she explained.

McCormick hopes surveys like these continue to raise awareness about sexual assault.

"We need to be holding the perpetrator accountable. We need to be asking questions about why are they doing what they're doing. And what is it about our culture that allows those people to sort of blend in and not stick out like a sore thumb,” she added.
A link to the survey can be found here.