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(Cook will be tried in criminal court on June 5.)In fact, the Education Department’s new study may indicate progress in combating the stigma of silence around sexual assault on college campuses.“We cannot say whether the increases are a result of an increase in actual assaults, or as a result of more individuals coming forward to report assaults when they occur,” study co-author Lauren Musu-Gillette wrote in an email to the Daily Beast.Conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Justice Department, the new study looked at data collected under the Clery Act, a law which requires colleges and universities to report to the federal government all sex crimes on or adjacent to campus that are reported to school authorities.Both Hedgepath and Krebs stressed that climate surveys about campus sexual assault conducted by universities (or looking closely at specific universities) can shed light on the most effective methods of combat sexual violence within those communities.“Asking students about their experiences can show schools where their Clery Act numbers may be falling short on what’s really happening on their campuses,” said Hedgepath.
While colleges have historically neglected student sexual-assault victims by failing to adequately punish perpetrators, many believe the Obama administration may have gone too far with its reforms.
Indeed, sexual assault statistics vary across universities just as they vary across in cities across the country.
According to federal data, Brown University “It’s really easy for media outlets to pick a number like the ‘one in five’ statistic” as indicative of campus sexual assault on a national scale, said Krebs.
(Krebs himself has previously said that the number is “not a nationally representative statistic.”) Krebs has since co-authored the Campus Climate Survey Validation Study (CCSVS), which surveyed 23,000 students at nine colleges from 2014 to 2015 and compared their findings to Clery Act data.
Released last January, the study found that participants reported 2,380 rapes compared to the 40 rapes reported under the Clery Act by the same nine schools during that 2014-2015 period.
Since her confirmation hearing, De Vos and her staff have largely been depicted as perpetrator-sympathizers with no concern for sexual-assault victims who, in part thanks to Obama’s policy changes, now feel empowered to speak out.