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Over 20% of Female Undergraduates are Sexually Assaulted, Survey Reports

Over 20% of Female Undergraduates are Sexually Assaulted, Survey ReportsSexual assault is not uncommon on American college campuses, according to a recent survey by the Association of American Universities.

Published in September 2015, the survey included responses from 150,000 undergraduate and graduate students at 27 American colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale, Iowa State, and the University of Southern California.


Over 20% of female undergraduates are sexually assaulted, survey reports. (Click to tweet)


Respondents included women, men, and TGQN students. TGQN stands for transgender/genderqueer, gender non-conforming, questioning, or gender not listed.

Here are some highlights of the survey:



  • Prevalence of sexual assault was highest among TGQN undergraduates, with 24% of students reporting incidents on the survey. Sixteen percent of TGQN graduate students said they’d been assaulted.
  • Twenty-three percent of undergraduate women and 9% of female graduate students said they had been assaulted.
  • Among the undergraduate women, 19% said they’d been sexually assaulted (either penetration or unwanted touching or kissing) by force. Twelve percent said the assault had occurred while they were incapacitated.
  • Men reported lower rates of assault – 5% for undergraduates and 2% for graduate students.
  • At 13%, Cal. Tech had the lowest rate of assaults among undergraduate women.
  • The University of Southern California and the University of Michigan had the highest rates at 30% each.
  • Only 25% of those who experienced forced penetration or attempted penetration reported the incident to authorities. For those who’d experienced forced sexual touching or kissing, the rate was 7%.

The complete survey may be accessed here.

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The Washington Post

Anderson, Nick; Susan Svrluga and Scott Clement

“Survey: More than 1 in 5 female undergrads at top schools suffer sexual attacks”

(September 21, 2015)

“Sexual assault at major universities”

(Graphic. September 21, 2015)

Westat via The Washington Post

Cantor, David, et al.

“Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct”

(September 21, 2015)