News & Observer: A third of female undergraduate UNC students reported sexual assault, survey found
A new study has found that nearly half of women who have been studying at UNC-Chapel Hill for four or more years say they have been sexually assaulted that is at a four-year level or higher. This survey also stated that more than a third of all female undergraduate UNC students reported being sexually assaulted as well. When is enough enough? And what are all North Carolina colleges and universities doing to protect our female student body at their schools?
Sexual assault is part of the college experience for many students at UNC-Chapel Hill, particularly women, a survey released Tuesday says.
Nearly half of young women in their fourth year or higher at UNC reported ex\\periencing nonconsensual sexual touching or penetration during college, according to the 2019 survey by the Association of American Universities.
More than a third of all female undergraduate UNC students reported being sexually assaulted during their time in college.
Nearly 6,000 UNC students responded to the survey, which is part of an effort by the group of research universities to help its members across the nation combat sexual assault and misconduct on their campuses.
The rates were “alarming” and higher than they were in a 2015 survey, UNC officials said in a report released to the campus community Tuesday.
Among the findings at UNC:
- 20% of undergraduate women said they had experienced nonconsensual sexual penetration since entering college.
- That number was 27% for undergraduate women in their fourth year or higher.
- 35% of undergraduate women at UNC said they had experienced nonconsensual sexual touching or penetration in college.
- That number was 45% of undergraduate women in their fourth year or higher.
The survey defined nonconsensual penetration as penetration involving physical force (including attempts), coercion, no voluntary agreement or the inability to consent or stop what was happening because the student was passed out, asleep or incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol. Nonconsensual sexual touching was defined under the same circumstances.
Serena Singh, a senior advisor for the UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch of Student Government, said she would define that as rape.
“It’s horrifying,” Singh said of the results. “I can’t speak for every student on this campus, but people that I have talked to are very concerned.”
She said she was shocked at how high the numbers were, but not surprised at the upward trend from 2015.
Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Becci Menghini, interim vice chancellor for the Division of Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement, sent students and the campus community a letter Tuesday acknowledging that sexual assault and harassment are serious problems at UNC and across the country. They said the data are “very concerning.”
“These behaviors have profound physical and emotional effects on the people who experience them and also have lasting impacts on other members of the campus community,” the letter said. “And while many of you have been very active in raising awareness and staying engaged in the issue, we need the help of every person — now more than ever — to change our culture.”