More than 1 in 4 college women reported sexual assault prior to graduating, study finds

Christina Vessa

The Collegian would like to inform its readers that the content in this article may trigger those affected by sexual assault.

About 26 percent of college women reported experiencing sexual assault or misconduct as a result of physical force or incapacitation, according to a Campus Climate Survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct released Monday by the Association of American Universities


(Infographic by Mariah Wenzel)
(Infographic by Mariah Wenzel)

Additionally, the survey found that non-consensual sexual contact involving drugs and alcohol constitute a large percentage of the incidents. 

Around 150,000 of the 780,000 students originally contacted responded to the survey — student respondents were surveyed across 27 American universities. The survey aims to provide institutions of higher education with information to prevent and respond to sexual assault and misconduct.

“The survey was designed to assess the incidence, prevalence and characteristics of incidents of sexual assault and misconduct,” states the AAU website. “It also assessed the overall climate of the campus with respect to perceptions of risk, knowledge of resources available to victims and perceived reactions to an incident of sexual assault or misconduct.”

Slightly more than 23 percent of female undergraduate student respondents reported experiencing incidence of sexual assault and sexual misconduct through incapacitation, physical force and threats of physical force since they enrolled at the university. 

The survey found that overall rates of reporting to campus or law enforcement officials ranged from 5 percent to 28 percent, depending on the type of behavior.

According to the survey, the most common reason for not reporting sexual assault and misconduct incidents was that it was not considered serious enough. The survey states that more than 60 percent of respondents believe that a report of sexual assault or misconduct would be taken seriously by officials.

Resources for victims of sexual assault on the Colorado State University campus include the Women and Gender Advocacy Center, and the 24-hour Victim Assistance Team, which is available to assist victims of sexual assault and interpersonal violence.

The 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline is (970) 472-4200.

The Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center provides resources to victims affected by sexual violence.

Collegian News Editor Christina Vessa can be reached at or on Twitter @ChrissyVessa.