Nearly 15% of KU women in survey say they were raped since starting college

More than a quarter of undergraduate women at the University of Kansas who participated in a national survey say they have been sexually assaulted while they were at school. And nearly 15% of them say they were raped.

Half of those women say the assault occurred when they were not able to give consent.

The findings are compiled in the 200-page 2019 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct. KU was among 33 colleges and universities across the country to participate in the survey, organized by the Association of American Universities.

AAU reported that the overall results of their survey from the participating schools suggest that, while students know more about resources for victims of sexual assault and misconduct, they still aren’t using them often enough.

And worse, the results show that rates of sexual assault and misconduct are up slightly since 2015, when the last survey was conducted.

In this region, the four University of Missouri System schools, including the Columbia and Kansas City campuses, and Washington University in St. Louis also participated in the survey..

The MU results showed that a quarter of undergraduate women had been victims of sexual assault and that another quarter worry it will happen before they leave. Likewise, a quarter of transgender students there say they have already been assaulted since coming to school, and half worry they will be.

While 26% of KU undergraduate women report being sexually assaulted, the percentage for men was 4%.

Among transgender students, nearly a quarter reported being sexually assaulted. And nearly 14% say they were raped.

KU officials said the good news is that since 2012, the percentage of students who say they know how to file a sexual harassment complaint and whom to contact has increased from 20.3% percent to 62.2%, but only half of them are aware the university has a website devoted to prevention of sexual harassment and violence.

“The survey results demonstrate that KU is making progress in some areas but still has a long way to go in other areas,” Tammara Durham, vice provost for student affairs, said in a statement.

While this is the second such AAU student survey in four years, it’s the seventh such survey for KU students in as many years.

The AAU survey at KU showed that the percentage of women saying they’d been sexually assaulted increased with nearly every year on campus, from 16.8% for freshmen to more than 30% for students in their fourth year.

The results come two weeks before a KU student accused of making a false rape report is set to go on trial in Lawrence.

The student and her attorneys have maintained that she is innocent and has been mistreated by the Lawrence Police Department and the Douglas County District Attorney’s office after she reported being raped by the friend of her ex-boyfriend a year ago.

Law enforcement claim she fabricated the story out of regret and in an effort to get back at her ex-boyfriend.

Earlier this month, another woman, a former KU student, came forward to say that she was sexually assaulted in April 2018, and when she reported it to law enforcement and the university, she was treated poorly. She told The Star the treatment was almost as traumatic as the rape itself.

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Mará has written on all things education for The Star for 20 years, including issues of school safety, teen suicide, universal pre-K programs, college costs, campus protests and university branding.