The data, which comes from Department of Public Safety records, underscores earlier studies that showed students living in dormitories were 1.4 times more likely to be raped than those living off campus.
“Most people who experience sexual and interpersonal violence know their perpetrators, contrary to popular myths that assume rape only happens in dark alleyways or by a stranger jumping out from the bushes,” said Marybeth Seitz-Brown, a spokesperson for Students Active For Ending Rape on Campus (SAFER).
Granville Towers reported three assaults between January 2009 and December 2013 — the highest number of sexual assaults out of any residence hall during this period. The data is the most recent the Department of Public Safety could provide for this story.
But dormitory sexual assaults were largely concentrated on south campus, where most freshmen and sophomores live, rather than on north campus.
Hilary Delbridge, spokeswoman for UNC’s Title IX Office, did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story. The Department of Housing and Residential Education deferred comment to her office.
Resources for students
As recently as last week, a second-degree rape occurred in Craige Residence Hall, but no information was given to UNC students.
“The suspect’s identity is known and he is currently in another state. Thus, not currently considered an imminent threat to the University community,” said Randy Young, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety. “No arrests have been made yet.”
Young said an Alert Carolina message was not sent out because the suspect did not pose a threat to the larger campus community. The office also takes survivors’ wishes into account before sending a message.
Young said survivors can rely on resources from the University’s Title IX office and Department of Student Affairs.
“The campus goal is support of a survivor,” he said. “Our top priority is the health and wellbeing of those individuals.”
Student victims of sexual assault can also go to their resident adviser for help. At UNC, residence hall advisers are considered mandatory reporters of sexual assaults, meaning they must report any rape they hear about.
Seitz-Brown said resident advisers are an important point of contact for survivors of sexual assault.
“RAs need to be trained in crisis response for sexual assault so they are empowered to connect survivors to counseling resources, reporting options and academic accommodations,” she said. “RAs are often one of the first people a survivor will turn to for help, and their response is crucial in making sure survivors get the resources they need for healing and justice.”
A ‘dangerous’ time
For survivors of sexual assault, the University can offer interim protective measures such as housing arrangements. Administrators also allow students to file a no-contact order that limits access to specific areas or forms of contact.
Nationally, survivors who were raped in their own residence hall often struggle with finding an alternative housing accommodation from their school, Seitz-Brown said.
“Under Title IX, schools need to provide survivors with the option to switch dorms when they receive a report of sexual assault,” she said. “Not all schools actively communicate that right to survivors.”
Senior Landen Gambill, who said she survived a sexual assault and dating violence her freshman year, said UNC does not do all it can to help survivors of sexual assault.
“The University claims to have interim protective measures in place for survivors, but still refuses to remove perpetrators from survivor’s dorms to keep survivors physically safe during proceedings,” she said. “This is a time (that is) statistically, extremely dangerous for survivors of relationship abuse, as abusers are much more likely to kill or physically assault survivors after the survivor has left the relationship.”