The University of Texas has released what officials are calling “the nation’s most comprehensive study on sexual assaults ever conducted in higher education,” a systemwide survey of 28,000 students’ experiences with stalking, harassment and sexual violence.
“We’re not going to run from this. We’re not going to hide from this. We’re going to take it head on, and we are going to address all of these issues,” UT System Chancellor William McRaven said Friday after the Dallas Regional Chamber’s 2017 State of Higher Education luncheon. “We want to drive to zero. And I’ve had folks say, ‘You’re not going to get to zero.’
The study’s results, a portion of which were first reported Thursday by The Dallas Morning News, shows 15 percent of undergraduate female students surveyed at the University of Texas at Austin said they had been raped and 13 percent of graduate or professional women on campus had experienced “crude sexual harassment perpetrated by a staff or faculty member” since enrolling.
UT-Austin President Greg Fenves called the survey “a wake-up call” and “a tremendous concern.”
“This survey reveals a problem in our university, as well as society, that has existed in the shadows for too long,” Fenves said in a prepared statement sent to students. “Sexual misconduct will not be tolerated.”
The systemwide rape rate was 10 percent, according to the survey, which dropped to 6 percent when all students, including men and graduate students, were included.
In the study, rape was defined as “having oral sex with someone, making someone perform oral sex, or penetrating someone’s vagina or anus with penis, fingers or other objects without their consent, by use of verbal pressure, taking advantage of them when they’re incapacitated, threatening to harm or using force.”
An example of rape in the survey, for instance, would be if a perpetrator pressured someone to perform oral sex, after they’d said they didn’t want to, by threatening to end the relationship or threatening to spread rumors about about the victim.
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