One in six women at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have experienced some form of sexual assault, but only 5 percent have reported it, according to the results of a survey released Monday.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology emailed its nearly 11,000 graduate and undergraduate students a survey on campus sexual assault in April, only days before the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault released its first report. 35 percent of MIT students responded to the survey, which asked questions about several different types of unwanted sexual contact.
“We are interested in learning about the problem, measuring it and solving it,” MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart told reporters during a teleconference. She emphasized that the school plans to expand prevention and education efforts and add resources to help survivors. The college also plans to conduct a follow-up survey.
Conducting and publishing such a survey is a rare move for colleges and universities nationwide. “Very few schools have publicly released any data,” John D. Foubert, a professor of higher education at Oklahoma State University who studies campus sexual assault, told the New York Times.
MIT University President L. Rafael Reif hopes that the survey will help his administration and the MIT campus community fight what the White House has called an epidemic of rape on college campuses. “Sexual assault violates our core MIT values,” Reif wrote in an email to students. “I am confident that, with this shared understanding and armed with this new data, the MIT community will find a path to significant positive change.”
In September, the White House launched the “It’s On Us” campaign, a social media-driven campaign aimed at encouraging bystander intervention to help prevent rape and sexual assault on campus.
Media Resources: The New York Times 10/27/14; Reuters 10/27/14; Feminist Newswire 4/29/14; ItsOnUs.org;