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Survey: 11 Percent of Students At UNR Experience Unwanted Sexual Contact

Between 2011 and 2013, how many sexual offenses would you guess were reported at UNR's campus?

Just one.

"Like there’s no problem at all, and we know that’s just not true.”

Jennifer Lowman works at UNR and conducted the new survey on sexual misconduct on campus.

About a third of all students responded, and, of those, almost 1 out of 10 had experienced unwanted sexual contact, which could encompass everything from groping to rape. The vast majority of those incidents happened off-campus and, surprisingly, only about a third of students say alcohol or drugs were involved. It’s unclear why that’s so low, but Lowman believes victims might worry that admitting they were drinking alcohol would undermine their stories.
 “We also find when a student endorses the idea that alcohol facilitates a sexual opportunity, we know that they are less likely to endorse the idea that they should maintain appropriate sexual contact.”
That fits with national trends.  Last year, sexual assault on campus gained attention when the White House released a report saying that 1 out of 5 women is sexually assaulted during college. Lowman expects the U.S. Justice Department will soon mandate sexual climate surveys and these results now give UNR a baseline.
Three percent of students, or about 200, admitted they had carried out some kind of sexual misconduct; of those, 18 people said they had done that more than once.
Lowman says the first step to stopping those students is changing the attitude of their peers and making sure everyone reports an incident.

Will Stone is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.