Statistics reveal that freshmen women are at greater risk of being raped than previously believed.
A study in the Journal of Adolescent Health entitled “Incapacitated and Forcible Rape of College Women: Prevalence Across the First Year” documents the high incidence of rape among freshmen female students. Of the 483 women surveyed at an unnamed private, northern university, 18.6% reported instances of attempted rape.
“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 reported.
Lead author of the study and a professor of behavioral and social sciences at Brown University, Kate Carey, said that when alcohol and drugs are involved freshmen are at an increased risk for sexual assault. “We’re starting to appreciate that the whole of freshman year is probably a risky time for students,” Carey said. “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.”
The study numbers bear this out. 9% of the surveyed women reported an attempted, or completed forcible rape during their freshman year; 15.4% reported an attempted, or completed rape while they were incapacitated. As there was some overlap with many women reporting experiencing both, the total number is 18.6%.
Further, 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.” The authors’ said their data clearly illustrates the need for prevention programs for both men and women at both the high school and college level.