Why 9 out of 10 colleges reported no rapes last year

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Why 9 out of 10 colleges reported no rapes last year

Reports of sex assault low at Fort Lewis College

At Fort Lewis College, the reported number of rape cases is low, but it is not zero.
So far this school year, from Aug. 30 through Nov. 19, the college was made aware of three reports of rape involving students as victims. Last year, during the same period, the school had four reported cases, said Mitch Davis, spokesman for the school.
But only one of the seven cases met the criteria to be reported to the U.S. Department of Education. The school is required to report only those cases that happen on campus or property controlled by the school.
For Molly Wieser, the Title IX administrator at the school, the question is how to make students more comfortable coming forward.
“We’re working hard at the college to reduce barriers to reporting,” she said.
So far this year the school has held a glow run, campus talks and a consent carnival to help stop sexual violence and raise awareness that consent requires a clear agreement.
At these events, the college has been promoting its anonymous reporting form and other reporting options.
“Our feeling is the anonymous reporting report is a good piece to a broader strategy,” Davis said. “The first step is to educate our students on how to keep themselves safe.”
Students can use the form to report anything they wish to be kept anonymous, such as sexual assault or harassment and offenses less heinous, Wieser said.
Following the efforts around awareness, the college has seen an uptick in the use of the form, but not many more students have come to speak with Wieser personally, she said.
One of the barriers to reporting any kind of sexual assault or harassment at FLC may be the size of the school, because the victim will likely run into the perpetrator regularly, she said.
Many students request that complaints be handled informally, she said.
Victims can also take specific requests to Wieser, and she does her best to make them more comfortable. For example, she can reschedule a student’s class to make sure a victim and the perpetrator don’t see each other regularly.
mshinn@durangoherald.com

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