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Analysis details statistics from college campuses in Massachusetts

A state analysis of 446 rape and sexual assaults on college campuses in Massachusetts during the past decade found that female college students represented 97 percent of those victimized. Of those victims, 70 percent of these victims were attacked by a male acquaintance, friend or date.

The September 2012 report, titled “Analysis of College Campus Rape and Sexual Assault Reports” uses data victims reported to medical providers in the commonwealth between the years 2000-2011.

State law requires the reporting of all cases of rape and sexual assault when a victim seeks medical treatment regardless of whether the case was reported to college administrators or law enforcement. The report provides a baseline to better understand the characteristics of sexual assault on college campuses, though has several limitations, state officials cautioned.

Nevertheless, the report is a first of its kind in Massachusetts using such data and was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice. The analysis concluded that the reporting of sexual assault cases in Massachusetts is above national estimates, though it remains a significantly underreported violent crime, particularly on college campuses.

Among the other findings in the report:

∎ Of the 10,965 cases of rape and sexual assault reported by medical providers in Massachusetts between 2000 and 2011, 446 cases, or a little more than 4 percent occurred on college campuses;

∎ Seventy percent of victims were attacked by a friend, acquaintance or date, 25 percent by a stranger and the remaining 5 percent by a spouse, ex-spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend;

∎ More than half of all sexual violence took place over the weekend, and 71 percent of the attacks occurred between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m.;

∎ Of the 446 reported sexual assaults on campuses, 285 were rapes, 18 were instances of attempted rape and 123 reports were sexual acts other than rape;

∎ 81 percent of campus rapes and sexual assaults occurred in a dormitory, followed by 9 percent in a house or apartment and 4 percent at a fraternity;

∎ Weapons and force were most often used in sexual violence when the assailant was an acquaintance, friend or date (65 percent), and the most common type of weapon or force used was body weight to physically restrain or hold down a victim;

∎ Physical injuries were reported in 133 cases on college campuses and 46 percent of victims chose not to disclose the sexual assaults to law enforcement.

Source: “Analysis of College Campus Rape and Sexual Assault Reports, 2000-2011” by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Office of Grants and Research, Research and Policy Analysis Division.

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