1 in 6 MIT students sexually assaulted

1 in 6 MIT students sexually assaulted
The MIT media lab.

While one in six Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) female undergraduates say they had been sexually assaulted, fewer than five per cent of them reported the sex crime, said MIT.

Five per cent of female undergraduates said they had been raped and one in five knew a perpetrator of unwanted sexual behaviour.

This is according to the MIT poll, which had a response rate of 35 per cent from undergraduate and graduate students.

"Sexual assault violates our core MIT values. It has no place here," MIT president Rafael Reif wrote in a campus e-mail accompanying the survey results on Monday, Reuters reported.

MIT, which urged all its students to take the survey on attitudes towards sexual assault, is one of the first US schools to release wide- ranging data on sex crimes on campus.

Lawmakers, activists and students across the US have been urging a crackdown on sexual assaults on campuses.

MIT e-mailed the survey to all of its 10,831 undergraduate and graduate students on April 27 - two days before the White House called on colleges and universities to ask students about these matters.

WIDESPREAD

The White House has declared sex crimes to be "epidemic" on US college campuses, with one in five students falling victim to sex assault during college years.

The survey also asked students about how widely unwanted sexual behaviour occurs on campus, and how likely victims were to discuss it with friends or others.

"We are interested in learning about the problem, measuring it and solving it," MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart said in a teleconference call with reporters.

She said the school was expanding prevention and education efforts as it continued to mine the data, and that it planned to conduct follow-up surveys.

Ms Barnhart noted a certain sense of confusion about what constitutes sexual assault and said the school released the poll to intensify the discussion about it while seeking ways to curb such incidents.


This article was first published on October 29, 2014.
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