You won’t believe how unsafe universities are for undergraduate women!

Can you believe the following statistics from a US Senate survey and report?

  • 1 in 5 undergraduate women are victims of sexual assault on campus.
  • Fewer than 5% of these rape victims report their attack to law enforcement.
  • 8% of institutions don’t allow confidential reporting of rapes and sexual assaults.

Senator Claire McCaskill (Missouri) had the US Senate survey campuses across the country and documented the findings in “Sexual Violence On Campus: How too many institutions of higher education are failing to protect students” at  This next statistic shocks again.

  • More than 40% of schools in the national sample have not conducted a single investigation in the past five years.

So it is clear that a lot of reported sexual violence goes UNINVESTIGATED.


However, according to the Senate survey/report, “federal law requires every institution that knows or reasonably should have known about sexual violence to conduct an investigation to determine what occurred. “

Making it more surprising that the sexual violence goes uninvestigated.  The survey also found the following.

  • More than 20% of the nation’s largest private institutions conducted fewer investigations than the number of incidents they reported to the Department of Education
  • Some of these institutions report as many as seven times more incidents of sexual violence than they have investigated.

This is shocking and unacceptable behavior from educational institutions!!  How can this kind of violence, and this much violence regularly happen to America’s young women on college campuses?

This violence is further covered in a new documentary, “The Hunting Ground,” which features alumni from UNC-CH. Annie Clark and Andrea Pino were sexually assaulted and refused to let the system ignore them! You can read about the documentary and see the powerful trailer at


Time magazine carried an article on “The Hunting Ground” on 3/5/15, titled ” The Hunting Ground Reignites the debate Over Campus Rape.”  Thanks to attention brought on this issue (like the Senate survey/report above), and a few excellent Senators pushing the issue of sexual assault on college campuses and in the military, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand, for example, “more than 100 colleges are now under investigation for possibly violating federal laws that aim to keep students safe. “

And I love that the filmmakers specified this next part, because when I mentioned this film and how “1 in 5 undergraduate women are assaulted on campus” at bookclub this month (March 2015), one of my friends asked ‘were they all drunk?’  Shocking me with the question.  But apparently it is quite common.  Common enough that the filmmakers

“say their mission began with disproving the perception that campus rapes are just drunken hookups that one party regrets the next morning. “In so many of these situations, there was a predator at work. These survivor was picked out, plied with alcohol and set up to be assaulted,” says Dick. “And then the school’s response was often unsupportive of the survivor. First, victim blaming, and then the investigation that followed was either inadequate or didn’t happen at all.””

According to a Ms. Magazine article “Why Are University Presidents Leaving Campus Rape Survivors Out in the Cold? from 3/18/15, the campus rape problem is well known.

“College administrators have known about the campus rape problem for three decades, and they have been mandated to address it for two decades.” 

The Ms. Magazine also shares other exposes it has done on this issue over the years.  It also talks about who they blame for this widespread problem.

The Time Magazine article focuses more on the documentary.  NC NOW can’t wait to see and share the documentary.  Please look for screenings in your area.  Or set one up yourself!

Extra information: Articles on violence against women, including attacks on campuses use the terms rape and sexual assault, and it is interesting to find that states use them differently.  According to ‘What’s the difference between rape and sexual assault’ at

“Penal codes throughout the country make use of a wide variety of classification schemes for sex crimes. In some states, like New Jersey, the phrase sexual assault has simply replaced the word rape in the statute books. In others, like Pennsylvania (PDF), rape requires the use or threat of force, whereas sexual assault refers to any act of intercourse without consent. (So the former is an especially serious version of the latter, and carries the potential for twice as much prison time.) In Washington state, among others, sexual assault comprises a broad set of acts that include anything from rape to “crimes with a sexual motivation.” In other states, neither the word rape nor the phrase sexual assault appears in the law. South Carolina refers to rape as “criminal sexual conduct,” and Florida calls it “sexual battery.” But as a general rule, a sexual assault is one that involves some form of unwanted penetration. Mere fondling is also a crime, but it’s usually called criminal sexual contact or something similar.”

 Contact: Gailya Paliga
                  President, NC National Organization for Women
                  fb: NC-NOW-National-Organization-for Women

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