The issue has gained new urgency in recent years as the number of reports of forcible sex offenses on campus has surged.The Obama administration has opened civil rights investigations of more than 110 colleges and universities for their handling of sexual-violence complaints.Many others endured attempted attacks, the poll found, or suspect that someone violated them while they were unable to consent.Some say they were coerced into sex through verbal threats or promises.Non-students, the BJS said, were raped or sexually assaulted more often than students.The 20 studies differed significantly in methodology.More than two-thirds gave their schools an A or a B for their handling of complaints. The Post generally does not identify victims of alleged sexual crimes, but numerous poll participants who were interviewed chose to be named.Conducted by telephone from January through March, the poll surveyed a random national sample of 1,053 women and men ages 17 to 26 who were undergraduates at a four-year college — living on campus or nearby — or had been at some point since 2011.
Cases that do land on the dean's desk or in the criminal justice system raise what often proves a vexing question: Did both people involved agree to have sex?(Nick Anderson)A 21-year-old at a public university in the Southeast who participated in the poll said she was raped by a male student who escorted her out of a nightclub after she suddenly became woozy and separated from a group of friends. "I would never wish what happened to me to happen to anyone."The poll defined sexual assault to include five types of unwanted contact: forced touching of a sexual nature, oral sex, vaginal sexual intercourse, anal sex and sexual penetration with a finger or object.Someone, she suspects, had slipped a drug into her rum drink."In the morning, I woke up and my lip was so swollen," the woman said. After they were read this definition, 5 percent of men and 20 percent of women said they had been sexually assaulted in college.They attended more than 500 colleges and universities, public and private, large and small, elite and obscure, located in every state and the District of Columbia.Post reporters also conducted dozens of follow-up interviews with men and women who say they experienced completed, attempted or suspected assaults.