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Most Victims Know Their Attacker

Date Published
September 30, 2008

About 85 to 90 percent of sexual assaults reported by college women are perpetrated by someone known to the victim; about half occur on a date. The most common locations are the man’s or woman’s home in the context of a party or a date. The individuals perpetrating the crime may range from classmates to neighbors.

Half of all student victims do not define the incident as “rape.” This is especially true when no weapon was used, there is no obvious physical injury, and alcohol was involved — factors commonly associated with campus acquaintance rape. This is one reason rape and other sexual assaults on campus are not well reported.

Fewer than 5 percent of completed and attempted rapes of college students are reported to campus administrators or law enforcement, according to one study. Failure to recognize and report the crime to law enforcement officials may contribute to underestimating the extent of the problem and may affect whether victims seek medical care. However, those who report in other contexts, such as through a confidential reporting system, are more likely to seek medical or counseling services.

Date Published: September 30, 2008