IU releases findings from climate survey on sexual assault



IU has released the findings of the first-ever climate survey on sexual assault conducted on the Bloomington campus.

All students were invited to complete the comprehensive survey in November 2014 as part of IU’s commitment to effectively address the issue of sexual assault, according to an IU press release.

IU Bloomington’s Community Attitudes and Experiences with Sexual Assault Survey asked students about their attitudes, perceptions and direct experiences with sexual assault, in addition to their opinions on the university resources and practices related to preventing and dealing with instances of sexual misconduct.

More than 7,100 students, representing 17 percent of the IU-Bloomington student population, completed at least 50 percent of the survey and had their responses included in the findings released today. In all, more than 9,600 students completed some portion of the survey.

“Many of the findings in this survey, while consistent with national trends on this challenging issue, were very sobering and speak to the need for even greater attention and resources to be focused on problems associated with sexual assault on college campuses,” IU President Michael McRobbie said in the release. “The information gathered through this survey has already been used to inform the University’s ongoing prevention, education and response efforts and to move us closer to the ultimate goal of eliminating sexual violence that affects our campus community — and we will further use this data to help drive our efforts moving forward.”

Student participants provided a variety of demographic and personal information that will help guide IU’s efforts in this area, according to the release. About 16 percent of undergraduates and 20 percent of graduate students completed at least 50 percent of the survey. In nominal terms, 72 percent of the survey participants were undergraduates and 28 percent were graduate students. Sixty-two percent were women and 38 percent were men.

In many ways, findings from the IU-Bloomington Community Attitudes and Experiences with Sexual Assault Survey were generally consistent with similar surveys conducted at other universities. The percentage of undergraduate women participants who reported experiencing attempted or completed non-consensual sexual penetration (17 percent) is somewhat below the national figure of 20 percent. The prevalence of alcohol use in instances of sexual misconduct and the fact that a majority of the women participants who experienced sexual misconduct did not report it to university officials are also consistent with findings from surveys conducted at other universities.

One finding from the survey is the percentage of undergraduate students who experienced some form of non-consensual sexual contact — ranging from inappropriate touching to attempted or completed non-consensual sexual penetration — before coming to IU mirrors the percentage who indicated they have experienced similar types of misconduct at IU.

Survey participants also were asked their views on resources available to them related to sexual assault, their general opinions on the safety of the Bloomington campus and community and the level of confidence they had in the University when it came to effectively preventing and dealing with sexual assault, according to the release.

“The responses clearly reflect that many of our students have been confronted with sexual assault before arriving on campus,” said Leslie Fasone, assistant dean for women’s and gender affairs and the lead administrator on the climate survey, in the release. “Just as we have a broad responsibility to provide resources and information to our students regarding sexual assault, and to create a safe environment, it is also clear that these issues must be aggressively addressed in our secondary schools and communities.”

The complete findings from the climate survey have been posted to the university’s sexual violence prevention website. The findings also will be shared with students and the broader campus community in the coming weeks through a series of meetings and events, and used to shape future programming and strategies related to sexual assault prevention, according to the release.

Alyson Malinger

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