Ending Sexual Violence in College

Covid-19 is having a devastating effect on the US population. It has been estimated that the virus has affected 8.7% of the population. It is headline news on every media outlet. Sexual assaults affect an estimated 20% of the female population on college campuses yet the amount of media attention is limited except when there is a major occurrence such as in the Duke Lacrosse or Baylor football scandals.   The effects of these assaults are devastating for the victims, accused perpetrators, and institutions. Ending Sexual Violence in College was written to address this problem.

In 2015 in the United States, 321,500 people 12 or older were sexually assaulted or raped in the United States (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014). That’s one every 98 seconds. Approximately 91% of these sexual assaults were committed against women (Rennison, 2002), and 54 % were perpetrated against women between the age of 18 and 34. One in every five women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape; that number for men is one in seventy-one (Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, Merrick, Chen and Stevens, 2011).

While the statistics for sexual assault in the general population are alarming enough, they are even higher for college students. According to a study conducted in 2015, 11.2 % of all college students will experience rape or sexual assault before graduation (Cantor, Fisher, Chibnall, Bruce, Townsend, Thompson and Lee, 2015). This number represents 23.1 % of college females and 5.4 % of college males.

The ramifications of sexual assaults for these students can be devastating. Victims of sexual assault may experience increased incidences of mental health problems including depression, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder (Kilpatrick, 2000).  In addition to these issues that plague victims of sexual assault, college students who experience sexual assault must also face the realistic possibility of seeing their perpetrators on a daily basis.


This is not inevitable.  Sexual assaults are preventable public health problems.  As laws and social norms continue to evolve, colleges are increasingly aware of their responsibility to establish a campus culture and policies that promote safety. They must not only address risk factors to prevent sexual violence, but also respond compassionately and responsibly when incidents do occur. Indeed, there are many federal, state, and local laws requiring colleges to develop policies and procedures to address sexual violence.  Colleges that fail to meet legal requirements can be sued under Title IX (which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded schools), with potential consequences up to and including losing all federal funding. All too often institutions underfund and under resource prevention strategies and data-based systems best suited to address the problem. Even the most diligent administrators in the best-funded schools can become overwhelmed by the many requirements and responsibilities.

Ending Sexual Violence in College offers a comprehensive look at sexual assault and rape on American college campuses and offers an evidence-based model to address the issue. This protection, prevention, and treatment model for sexual assault and rape addresses both the organizational and individual level—that is, it addresses policies and procedures from the administration level, as well as training and education programs that empower individual students, faculty, and other staff to foster a stronger, safer campus climate. We address the importance of university leaders giving their full support to safe campus programs. We also offer a plan for promoting healing for all involved after an assault happens.

This book was designed as a guide for those facing the challenge of creating safe campuses. It is designed to be useful to anyone interested in protecting students but with specific attention to the needs of college administrators, Title IX coordinators, and campus sexual assault teams. We offer a macro view for administrators to guide them in creating the programs necessary to change the culture of their campuses. But, we also give micro-level details to those Title IX coordinators and assault teams who are implementing these programs and working with both victims and those accused of the assault.

Order Ending Sexual Violence in College: A Community-Focused Approach at the following link: https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/ending-sexual-violence-college

Joanne H. Gavin is the associate dean for undergraduate programs and a professor of management at Marist College. She is a trained Title IX investigator and adjudicator. James Campbell Quick is a Distinguished University Professor and professor emeritus at the University of Texas at Arlington and a professor at the University of Manchester. David J. Gavin is an associate professor of management and MBA director at Marist College. He had a long career leading companies in several different industries. Together, Gavin, Quick, and Gavin are the authors of Ending Sexual Violence in College: A Community-Focused Approach.


Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cantor, D., Fisher, B., Chibnall, S., Townsend, R., Lee, H., Bruce, C., Thomas, G. (2015). Report on the AAU campus climate survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Retrieved from: https://www.aau.edu/uploadedFiles/AAU_Publications/AAU_Reports/Sexual_Assault_Campus_Survey/AAU_Campus_Climate_Survey_12_14_15.pdf

Kilpatrick, D.G. (2000). The Mental Health Impact of Rape
Medical University of South Carolina
National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center

Office of Justice Programs (2014). Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice. Rape and sexual victimization among college-aged females, 1995-2013. https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsavcaf9513.pdf

Rennison, C. A. (2002). Rape and sexual assault: Reporting to police and medical attention, 1992-2000 Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics


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