Boulder, CO– Over the past few years there has been a great deal of controversy over sexual harassment and assaults on college campuses. Numerous institutions of higher learning, including the Yale, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Montana have been subjected to Department of Education and Department of Justice Investigations for their mishandling of sexual harassment and assault allegations.
These institutions have been accused of covering up allegations, retaliating against the victims and failing to properly discipline the perpetrators. Some of the schools have been accused of trying to cover up assaults and rape to keep their attendance up and prevent potential students and their parents from seeing how prevalent this behavior is on a campus.
Sexual misconduct on campuses is such an issue that colleges and university have been cited by the Department of Education who recently developed new guidelines to help higher learning institutions combat the problem.
In addition to the new guidelines, the schools facing DOE probes were forced to draft new policies which clarify their sexual harassment and assault reporting policies and make the system easier for the victims to navigate.
The problem of sexual assault and harassment on college and university campuses are widespread, just as it is with the workplace. Research from the American Association of University Women sheds light on the scope of the problem.
- At least 62 percent of women and 61 percent of men report being sexually harassed on their campus.
- Sixty-six percent know at least one person who has been sexually harassed.
- Less than 10 percent of sexual harassment victims actually report their experiences to facility staff.
- Thirty-five percent of sexual harassment victims never tell anyone, not even friends or family, about their experience.
- Eighty percent of harassment victims report being harassed by a fellow student.
- Fifty-one percent of male students and 39 percent of female students admit to sexually harassing someone.
The above statistics show that sexual harassment is fairly common, but the struggles for victims don’t end with the harassment. Victims can be impacted in many ways.
According to the AAUW, 69 percent of females subjected to sexual harassment said they were very upset about the incident. Over half reported that the harassment made them feel insecure or embarrassed. Victims can also feel angry, afraid and intimidated.
The impact of sexual harassment doesn’t end with the students emotional state it can also affect their academic career. Students who have been harassed find it hard to concentrate on their studies. Victims find it hard to sleep, have decreased appetite; lose interest in their classes and in extreme cases considering changing schools.
Some said the harassment caused them to skip at least one class and/or drop one of their classes. Harassment victims also said they avoided certain buildings on campus where the initial incident happened.
Regulations and lawsuits alone cannot combat harassment and assault on college campuses. Victims need to speak out and if necessary, a Boulder sexual harassment attorney can be their voice.