A Shocking Report on Sexual Assault at Tulane University in New Orleans

Many colleges and universities across the United States have surveyed their students on their experiences with sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct on campus. In many cases the results of those surveys have caused a great deal of concern.

But perhaps one of the more startling surveys was the one recently released by Tulane University in New Orleans. There, 41 percent of undergraduate women students who responded to the survey reported that they had been victims of sexual assault since coming to campus. The university defines sexual assault as rape, attempted rape, or “fondling, kissing, or rubbing up against a person’s private areas of their body (lips, breast/chest, crotch, or butt), or removing clothing without the person’s consent by incapacitation or force.”

Some 24 percent of undergraduate women respondents reported that they had been raped and 21 percent stated they were victims of attempted rape.

Seventy-four percent of women who experienced any form of sexual assault reported they were incapacitated by alcohol at the time of the incident. White heterosexual women were twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault than heterosexual women of color.

These statistics cannot be dismissed by a claim that they are taken from a small sample size. Nearly half of the close to 10,000 students who were asked to participate, did so.

Michael A. Fitts, president of Tulane University, stated in the report that “if we are to succeed, and we must, we will need help from every single member of our community to create a culture of prevention. Our work will require a better understanding of not just the definition of legal consent, but also of the power structures and cultural beliefs that contribute to sexual misconduct.”

Filed Under: Sexual Assault/Harassment


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