New research reveals that rape of freshmen women may be more prevalent than previously believed.
The Journal of Adolescent Health’s study titled “Incapacitated and Forcible Rape of College Women: Prevalence Across the First Year” documented the prevalence of rape among first-year female students. Out of the 483 women surveyed from an unnamed private university in the northeastern U.S., 18.6% reported instances of attempted rape beginning when they arrived on campus into the following summer.
“Sexual assault (i.e., any nonconsensual sexual contact) and rape (i.e., nonconsensual intercourse) of female college students are increasingly recognized as prevalent,” the study’s authors said.
The study defined rape as “vaginal, oral or anal penetration achieved using threats of violence or use of physical force, or using the tactic of victim incapacitation.”
Kate Carey, lead author of the study and a professor of behavioral and social sciences at Brown University, said freshmen are at an increased risk for sexual assault, especially when alcohol and drugs are involved.
“We’re starting to appreciate that the whole of freshman year is probably a risky time for students,” Carey told Bloomberg Business. “If we (were) to see these types of rates for a broken leg, or some other kind of injury, we’d certainly expect that the environment and the individuals involved would be addressed.”
According to the study, 9% of the women surveyed reported an attempted or completed forcible rape freshman year and 15.4% reported an attempted or completed rape while incapacitated. Because there was some overlap with some women reporting experiencing both, the total number is 18.6%.
The study also reveals that by sophomore year, 37% of the women had experienced “attempted or completed forced rape, incapacitated rape or both since the age of 14 years.”
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SOURCE: USA Today On College – Alexandra Samuels, The University of Texas at Austin