I'm not from the US nor do I live there - so I definitely have no idea what life on US campuses is like.

In recent years I've heard occasional news stories about supposed prevalence of sexual assault of (mostly?) female students on US campuses, with implicit or explicit accusations of there being a culture conducive to these, e.g. in male fraternities; or with university authorities looking the other way etc.

On the other hand I've also occasionally heard claims to the contrary, e.g.:

  • I've overheard some researchers in conferences I attend describe how US campuses are now supposedly extremely restrictive in speech and expression, and that what you say or do very often and very easily gets construed as harassing or micro-aggressive. Consequently, perhaps the bar for characterizing actions as sexual assaults, or the willingness to file complaints about assaults when they occur, is higher.
  • I've heard claims that many accusations of sexual assault or rape often leveled against males (specifically male students) involve cases in which a male and a female get drunk and end up having sex, with the question of consent being somewhat muddled and implicit - and that these situations may be used to supposedly "stack" the statistics of sexual assault.

Now, I know that in general, sexual harassment and assault happen much more often than I would imagine as a male (see also this question here on skeptics.SX); and that much of those cases is not officially reported for various reasons (feelings of shame, fear of retribution, fear of social stigma, pressure by the harasser, lack of trust in the police and the courts etc.)

Still, my question is: Is the solid statistical evidence for higher prevalence of sexual assault on US campuses, that :

  1. is broken down by type and/or severity of assault, to be able to check for the claim of "up-playing", and
  2. includes some credible model of estimating unreported vs reported assaults

If there isn't, I guess the question mark remains.

  • 3
    This question seems a bit opinion-based and broad as-is. It might benefit from linking to an actual claim. I would also suggest to remove only tangibly related issues (the "free speech", "muddled consent", and "conductive culture" aspects); some of those may make decent questions if properly phrased, others less so, but all seem irrelevant to the actual question here (which seems to be mainly about occurrence rate). You might also be interested in the wikipedia overview over campus sexual assault which might help in focusing your question.
    – tim
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 15:33
  • @tim: I only partially agree with your suggestions, but I've amended the bottom-line question to hopefully make it less opinion-based.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 15:40
  • 3
    Voted to close, this question is still way to broad. I suggest you find a distinct claim (ex., news article) that you wish for us to examine as opposed to what reads more as a research / discussion topic.
    – rjzii
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 15:44
  • 1
    I am not 100% clear on what exactly the claim we are supposed to be researching is. This are certainly interesting questions that can be answered, but I don't know exactly which one this question should answer. I would suggest editing your question to begin with a claim, and putting that claim in bold. I have seen a lot of claims and counterclaims related to this question, and they are usually not consistent with each other. Pick a specific claim and focus your question on that. Once you do that, I will remove my vote to close. Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 16:47
  • 1
    I am surprised that duplicate was chosen as the close reason. This question asks if the college sexual assault statistics are higher than something. The other question asks about the 1 in 5 number. Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 21:52


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