A Closer Look at How ACHA’s New Toolkit is Shifting Norms
Gender harassment. Stalking. Sexual coercion. Sexual assault. Sexual abuse. Rape.
Even for students hyped up about entering their long-awaited college years, hearing these words during orientation quickly sobers up any audience. While some might dismiss such warnings as simply a required bylaw formality, the truth is that the threat of sexual and relationship violence on campuses is still very real, and the statistics remain discouraging.
“Statistics on how often this happens to women have been consistent through the years. Historically, we have viewed this as a women’s issue—women are the victims and men are the perpetrators. While statistically that is what happens most frequently, one thing that is changing is our awareness that sexual assault can happen to men as well as women, and our LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, and all other sexualities, sexes, and geners) young adults are at even higher risk than others,” explains Amy Hoch, PsyD, a licensed psychologist with the Counseling and Psychological Services Center at Rowan University, New Jersey.
In fact, recent findings from the spring 2015 American College Health Association (ACHA)-National College Health Assessment (NCHA) revealed that 9.3% of undergraduate students (11.4% of females, 4.4% of males, and 22.4% of transgender students) report having been sexually touched without consent within the previous 12 months. With regards to intimate partner relationships, 9.2% of respondents (10.6% of females, 6.1% of males, and 17.0% of transgender students) indicated having experienced an abusive relationship (emotionally, physically, or sexually) within the previous 12 months. Additionally, 4.1% (5.2% of females, 1.4% of males, and 7.3% of transgender students) indicated that within the previous 12 months, they experienced attempted or completed penetration (vaginal, anal, or oral) without consent.
These statistics naturally beget the question: Why haven’t decades of education and research been able to effectively address and limit the occurrences of campus sexual violence?