Culture of SilenceAccording to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report, "The Sexual Victimization of College Women," 95% of students who are raped never report it to the authorities. With female college students at greater risk of rape or sexual assault than women in the general population, this indicates a culture of silence surrounding rape on campus.
This fact is confirmed by a December 2009 study released by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit organization dedicated to investigative journalism on issues of public concern. The key findings of the report "Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice" expose a sobering truth:
Many victims don't report at all, because they blame themselves, or don't identify what happened as sexual assault.... Local criminal justice authorities regularly shy away from such cases, because they are "he said, she said" disputes sometimes clouded by drugs or alcohol.
Why Victims Keep QuietMany students dread the scrutiny and judgment of family and peers. For a rape victim traumatized by her assault, often all she wants is to put the experience behind her. The DOJ study found that students who had been raped gave the following reasons for not reporting the crime:
- 44.4% did not want family to know
- 46.9% did not want other people to know
- 42.0% lacked any proof that the incident had happened
Next page: Rape on campus and "blaming the victim"