The problem of sexual violence on college campuses was very much on Fembot Collective members Hye-Jin Lee and Carol Stabile’s minds when they met at the Console-ing Passions Conference in Columbia, Missouri in April 2014. After their meeting and a long stormy drive back home, Hye-Jin decided that prospective students and their parents should have better information about sexual assaults, so she took the US News and World Report’s College Rankings and provided information based on Clery Act data on campus sexual assaults for each institution.
Since campus sexual assaults are among the most underreported of crimes, we decided to add two other bits of information. Based on the figures cited by the White House — that an average of one in five women will be sexually assaulted while at college, we estimated the ratio between reported crimes and the rates that we would expect to see if reporting was closer to the actual occurrence of sexual assaults on campuses (a future version of this map will include the 4% of men who report being survivors of sexual violence during their college careers).
This map isn’t data rich yet and that’s part of its significance. We hope that it can emphasize the shocking discrepancies between reported sexual assaults and estimates of actual sexual assaults. In the months to come, we would like to see the ratio between those numbers drop. We will applaud those universities whose reporting increases because it will indicate on-the-ground efforts to address the appalling problem of sexual violence on our campuses.
Since we began working on this map, US News and World Report has announced their decision NOT to include information on sexual assault in their rankings, apparently believing that academic excellence has nothing to do to with providing a safe environment for women. That’s not what Title IX says.
We would like to thank the following people for their advice and help inputting data, fact-checking, and working on design:
Erika M. Behrmann
Taliah B. Mirmalek
- That 1 in 5 women will be the survivor of sexual violence during her college career is an estimate based on a 2007 research survey at “two large, public universities.” The actual rates of sexual assault at colleges and universities is understudied, and in some instances is much lower than the estimate; in others, the number of survivors may be much higher.↵
- This map draws on data from three locations, and is thus constrained by three sets of limitations specific to those data sets. The number of female students is calculated based on 2014 U.S. News and World Report statistics on a) number of students total and b) percentage of women. The number of reported cases of sexual offenses is a statistic that comes from the 2012 Clery Reports of the colleges and universities listed here. 2012 is the last year readily available across all colleges and universities in the United States. The numbers used regarding college and university reporting is a combination of forcible and non-forcible sex offenses, and combines on campus, off campus, residential, and public property offenses committed by members of the college or university community – numbers reported as mandated by the Clery Act. Finally, the 1-in-5 statistic is taken from the 2007 Campus Sexual Assault Survey conducted by Chirstopher P. Krebs et al. This survey was conducted at “two large public universities,” (3-1) and has recently come under fire for both its statistical generalizations and its generalizability. In regards to the first, colleges and universities themselves lump rape together with other categories of sexual violence, in the understanding that no person should be subjected to unwanted sexual contact. In regards to the second, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010) has demonstrated that the 1-in-5 statistic holds true when measured after college and university experiences, and some scholars (Freyd) have measured similar if not much higher incidents of “forcible and non-forcible sex offenses” at large public universities. When calculating to include the number of men who are survivors of sexual violence, the discrepancy between number of reports and number of incidents becomes all the more disparaging. The temporal disjuncture between data sets (2014 US News and World Report, 2012 Clery Reports, 2007 CSA statistic) suggests that our estimates of number of offenses is low, as is the number of reported offenses in relation to student body. The discordance between number of reported incidents and actually-occurring incidents may thus be marginally inflated by changes in enrollment between 2012 and 2014.↵