The 2019 AAU campus climate survey results were released before Fall Break and demonstrate what many people on campus already knew to be true: sexual violence is widespread, common and can impact anyone regardless of their gender identity.
Furthermore, we know that students with marginalized identities such as racial/ethnic minorities and LGBTQ students are more likely to be victimized and face greater barriers toward seeking help, reporting and achieving a just outcome in the criminal, civil or campus justice system.
The broadest view of the data shows that out of students in their fourth year or higher, almost half of undergraduate women experienced a form of sexual violence, defined as anything from unwanted sexual touching to rape. One-third of undergraduate transgender/gender non-conforming students and nearly 12 percent of undergraduate men experienced some form of sexual violence in 2019.
This data emphasizes the need for a student-led coalition against violence on campus. In response to the survey data, the University is calling for: “a coalition of students, faculty and staff to assess additional areas of need for prevention, develop a plan for implementation, oversee implementation and serve as a resource for all prevention efforts on campus.”
However, the University does not have a great track record on following through with these calls to action. Students must use this moment to mobilize and put pressure on the University to make long-lasting changes that strengthen survivors’ reporting options, support and fund violence prevention programming and ensure that survivors are able to access trauma-informed care in a timely manner.