SURVEY: 14% of EWU Students experience unwanted sexual contact, - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

SURVEY: 14% of EWU Students experience unwanted sexual contact, 1 in 20 WSU students say they've been stalked

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

 Fourteen percent of students at Eastern Washington University said they had been subjected to unwanted sexual contact, according to a new study, but many of them failed to report these incidents or attacks to their school or the police.

Only 2.4% of the EWU student body participated in the state-mandated survey to gauge the prevalence of sexual assault on campus, and 86% of responding students said they have never experienced domestic violence, dating violence or unwanted sexual contact. But 24% of staff and faculty indicated that they knew of a student being sexually assaulted or harassed in the last three years. And even among that small 2.4% sample - about 300 students - 37 said they had been a victim of some kind of sex crime, but hadn't spoken up - three times more cases than what the school officially reported in 2015.

A similar survey at Washington State University had only a slightly better 7.7% participation rate. Yet it too pointed to a much larger safety problem than previously documented. According to the new data, 4.5% of responding WSU students experienced unwanted sexual contact since the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year - around 100 cases - while the latest WSU Security and Fire Report lists only 29 instances of rape, fondling, or incest. Additionally, 5.2% of WSU students surveyed said they had been subjected to unwanted phone calls or messages, and 5.8% said they had been subjected to unwanted e-mails or other forms of written communication. But in 2015, the school only found out about 8 cases of stalking.

Unfortunately, the study shows the failure to report sex crimes or other harassment on the campuses of Washington's colleges and universities is the norm, not the exception. Only 10.1% of WSU victims reported telling an administrator, faculty, or staff about the incident; at Central Washington University, 91% of students who said they had been subjected to unwanted sexual contact did not report any of the incidents to a CWU staff or administrator.

What Are Schools Doing to Stop Sex Crimes Right Now?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “sexual violence is defined as a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent. Sexual violence is divided into the following types:”

  • Completed or attempted forced penetration of a victim
  •  Completed or attempted alcohol/drug-facilitated penetration of a victim
  • Completed or attempted forced acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else
  • Completed or attempted alcohol/drug-facilitated acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else
  • Non-physically forced penetration which occurs after a person is pressured verbally or through intimidation or misuse of authority to consent or acquiesce
  • Unwanted sexual contact
  • Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences

A complete summary of the efforts to prevent such acts on each campus is detailed below:

Central Washington University-

            CWU has a team of representatives who meet with students to prevent issues related to sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, and stalking. CWU also has three case managers, counseling and medical staff. The University also provides training for all incoming students on “healthy relationships and sexual violence.” The faculty and staff complete an online training every two years and a Title IX Task Force meets quarterly to discuss issues.

Evergreen State College-

           Evergreen launched the Green Dot Strategy in the Fall of 2014. Green Dot “seeks to engage all students as potential bystanders to establish intolerance for violence and intervene in high-risk situations without compromising their safety.” Evergreen has a Title IX Coordinator, a confidential Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator, and Counseling staff to provide services and prevention education.

Eastern Washington University-

            EWU has six employees on campus that handle Title IX related duties. The Title IX Coordinator “pursues regular training and professional development in order to ensure that campus processes are consistent with requirements and reflect a high level of integrity.” EWU recently purchased a new training program for staff on sexual harassment and violence training.

There are four primary resources that make up the core of EWU’s approach to sexual assault education and prevention: Think About IT, Speaking of Sex, and Start by Believing.

The University of Washington-

            UW has a Task Force on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response which “comprised of faculty, staff, and students and charged them with reviewing University policies, exploring best practices, recommending and developing new practices and proposing a plan for implementation.” In 2013, the Task Force outlined eight goals and since then t hey have made significant progress in implementing them. They added a Title IX Committee to assist the Task Force.

Washington State University-

            WSU has mandatory training on discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct prevention. The Office for Equal Opportunity also provides training about sex and gender-based violence.

Western Washington University-

            Western Washington University formed a Title IX Task Force in 2011 to focus on early efforts on informing students and employees about resources and reporting. It evolved in 2015 to the “Work Group on Sexual Violence Prevention and Response,” which actively work on “wide spread posters on sexual violence resources and reporting options throughout campus; survivor resources posters in every restroom on campus; robust training in the prevention of sexual violence to student athletes; coaches; resident advisors/directors; student leadership; graduate TA’s and RA’s.” Western also has a mandatory on-line sexual violence prevention training for all incoming students, faculty, and staff.

All Washington Community and Technical Colleges-

All Washington Community and Technical Colleges are in the process of implementing Campus Clarity, a Title IX training program for employees and students. The District Compliance Officer for Spokane Colleges has a role in making sure the efforts of the Colleges and the District are in accord with federal and state regulations as well as with board policy and college procedures.

Independent College of Washington-

Independent College of Washington require all new employees, including faculty, to complete some form of a training regarding discrimination and harassment. Examples include online programs guided through self-reflection designed to examine sexual misconduct, healthy relationships, and substance abuse.

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