Sex Crimes on Campus

Jared Raney

Sex crimes are a reality that every college student needs to be aware of. National statistics said that one in every four women and one in every nine men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

In 2011, ISU reported a total of seven cases of sexual assault on campus the entire year. In 2010, the total number reported was nine. That’s around .02 percent of current student enrollment.

“People reporting for sex crimes in general is very low. It’s usually very underreported,” said Annie Randolph, domestic violence services coordinator for ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support). “A lot of people are just scared. Reporting doesn’t mean that it’s going to go anywhere.”

Because of the reluctance to report these crimes and the federal conditions about what constitutes a sexual offense it can be difficult to get a clear picture about how many sexual assaults actually occur.

“I would say in a week we probably have four to five sexual assault phone calls. About one a day,” Randolph said.

Randolph said that even though many victims are referred to their door it is by no means the whole picture.

Victims of sexual assault have many avenues. ACCESS is an anonymous resource whose main goal is to make the victim feel safe. ISU students can also go to campus police who put out the public information on sexual crimes.

ISU police collects information on sexual crimes from what the Clery Act defines as Campus Security Authorities. CSA’s include campus police or anyone who has a responsibility for campus safety.

The Clery Act is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to create a public report of certain crimes, such as sexual offenses, for the past three years. The statistics put out in ISU’s annual report may not be an accurate representation.

Steffani Simbric, the Story County sexual assault response team coordinator, said the amount of reported crimes might not be a perfect translation of how many crimes are actually committed.

“The numbers are hard to interpret,” Larkin said

The rules and guidelines universities must follow when deciding what offenses are covered under the Clery Act are listed in a 469 page handbook.

“While it’s important to be in compliance, the spirit of the Clery [Act] is to inform students, so they can… keep themselves safe,” said ISU police lieutenant, Deb Larkin. “The whole point of it is not to just comply with a bunch of federal requirements, the point is to keep students and parents informed.”