A recent study at George Washington University examines students’ attitudes concerning sexual assault on campus.
Sadly, but not too uncommonly, rape at GWU is not a rarity.
In any given year, approximately 265 female undergraduates will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault, yet half of them will not call their assault “rape” and fewer than 5% will ever report being attacked.
The majority of women assaulted will know their victim, which could explain why so few assaults are reported and why women also refuse to call their attack a rape.
For the few who do report being assaulted and seek help, is GWU equipped to provide them with the services they need?
According to the survey, 71% of respondents said that “if an individual were ever raped, GWU has the resources to help from crisis to recovery.”
At the same time, however, 74% of students also reported that they “do not feel that the GWU community educates students about the resources available to victims of sexual assault.”
So, while students believe services are available should they need them, they feel that GWU fails to make those services well-known, which may explain why students are uninformed as to which services are actually available.
In fact, 62% of respondents “think rape kits are available on GWU’s campus through Student Health Services,” but in reality they’re not.
The study brings up an interesting point that every school should really be asking itself – Are students well informed of the sexual assaults services they provide? Are the services they provide enough?
In a world where 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted while at college, these are questions we cannot afford to overlook anywhere.
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