Clemson University Says Education Has Helped Improve Sexual Assault Reporting

Sexual AssaultOfficials at Clemson University have received more reports of sexual offenses on campus. However, while that certainly sounds like a bad thing, they say that the reports have increased after the school started an education and awareness campaign.

As such, Pickens County Advocacy Center executive director, Shannon Lambert, suggests that the higher number of reports does not necessarily mean that sexual assault has increased.  This organization provides assistance to students at Clemson University—and others residents of Pickens County—who are victims of sexual violence.

Instead, Lambert—and Clemson officials—say this increase is more than enough proof that the education and awareness campaign has encouraged more victims to come forward.

Indeed, Clemson Title IX coordinator Jerry Knighton reports officials at the school “are doing a much better job of educating our student body, faculty and staff. As a result of that, we are getting more reports.”

Similarly, Clemson University Police Chief Eric Hendricks celebrates that the rise in reported sex offenses on campus is actually good news.  He says that students must have better confidence in the police department as well as in university officials to respond to cases effectively.

According to the US Department of Justice, rape and other sex offenses are among the most underreported crimes in the country. In fact, the US DoJ says that about 2 out of 3 sexual assaults in America goes unreported.

On a broader scale, statistics show that rape and sexual assault cases appear to have fallen 74 percent across the nation since 1993.  However, the rate has not fallen that much within the college and university systems. In fact, a survey last year—involving `50,000 college students—roughly 23 percent of undergraduate women reported having been physically forced—and even threatened with force—to participate in sexual contact.

And, says Clemson University interpersonal violence prevention coordinator Megan Fallon, based on these results, it is quite reasonable to assume that as many as 2,000 sexual offenses might be occurring on the campus every year.

Having only been appointed last year, Fallon describes, “It is not like it hasn’t been happening,” adding that she hopes the efforts will continue to encourage more student reporting. she hopes even more students will report these crimes in the future. S

Also, Federal officials have warned colleges and universities across America that severe consequences could be on the way if they do not improve their handling of campus sex crimes, as they fall under Title IX—prohibiting sexual discrimination and harassment in any education program/activity funded by the federal government.

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