Releasing your child to the unknown social atmosphere of college life can feel overwhelming, especially with all the news reports about Sexual Assault on college campuses.

We’re here to help and want to make sure your family is safe and knowledgeable about the resources that colleges offer to keep students safe. This page will provide you with information about sexual assault on college campuses, reporting requirements, prevention programs, support offices, and information about the investigation process.

30 years of research has consistently reported that 1 in 5 women report being a victim of sexual assault while in college; 1 in 16 males report being a victim. Victims of sexual violence are subject to a variety of negative effects and often face decreased economic outlooks in life. Victims are likely to become depressed and anxious, possess a negative view of themselves, and face a greater risk for re-victimization. Sexual violence victimization is also associated with subsequent substance abuse, problem drinking, and decreased academic success in college. Finally, sexual violence victimization has also been linked to the development of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Victims of PTSD often display increased emotional reactions to traumatic events, especially when they are reminded of the particular event that caused the PTSD

The CDC defined four overarching characteristics of sexual violence which typically result in the creation of distinct categories of violence (sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and sexual harassment). New regulations just released by the Department of Education in May, 2020 will require colleges to define and prevent instances of sexual violence that fall within these four categories.

  • Sexual Assault refers to a wide variety of non-consensual behaviors including unwanted sexual touching, sexual coercion, attempted rape, and completed rape.
  • Intimate partner violence (IPV) is typically labeled as Dating Violence or relationship violence when referring specifically to college students. The CDC defined IPV as physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal violence that occurs between current or former intimate partners.
  • Stalking refers to unwelcome patterned behavior that causes people to fear for their safety.  Examples of stalking behavior include sending unwanted phone calls, texts, or emails; watching someone from a distance; sneaking into a person’s car or house without permission; and visiting a person’s home, workplace, or school without permission
  • Sexual Harassment refers to non-physical interactions that are sexual in nature and have a discriminatory impact on an individual. Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, jokes that are sexual in nature, whistling, or promising rewards in exchange for sexual favors.

As grim as these realities may appear, Colleges and Universities are all committed to preventing sexual assault. Every college in the United States is required by the federal government to offer robust prevention programs which are often co-sponsored by numerous support offices across campus. Finally, there are also significant reporting requirements every institution must follow which includes the requirement to publish crime data about campus safety.

About Neil Best, Ph.D.

Dr. Neil Best has been working in Higher Ed for almost 20 years. He received his PhD from Azusa Pacific University in Higher Education and his dissertation explored on the campus climate predictors of sexual assault victimization. He has professional experience working in the areas of Equity and Compliance, Diversity and Inclusion, Residence Life, Student Engagement, Leadership Development, and Student Conduct. He currently serves as Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Civil Rights Investigator at the University of Alaska Anchorage. His research interests focus on student success and sexual violence prevention and he has taught classes on Student Success, Student Conduct, and Research Methods. In his free time, he loves exploring the great state of Alaska with his partner and three young daughters.