The Daily Aztec

Data shows most on-campus sexual assaults occur in dorms

by Emely Navarro, Senior Staff Writer

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Most of the violent sexual offenses reported to San Diego State Police over the past three years occurred in campus residence halls.

While reporting on data regarding campus sexual assaults, The Daily Aztec discovered SDSU Police misprinted the number of total rape cases reported in 2012 and 2014. More cases were reported than were calculated in the original added totals.

In 2012, the total number of rape reports was originally written as 12. The correct figure is 18. In 2014, the original number was 18 and the correct number is 20. SDSU confirmed those corrected figures to The Daily Aztec.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act requires the department to record and publish these numbers on College Area sexual violence each year.

A look at the department’s security report revealed 24 sexual assaults were reported most recently in 2014. Eleven of those occurred in student housing.

Residential advisor and journalism junior Juwan Armstrong said offenders have easy access to victims in the dorms.

“The residents are close to one another and, statistically proven, many assaults are committed by someone who that person knows,” Armstrong said.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, four in five assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Comparative international studies sophomore Marissa Zuniga said there is a lot of trust between residents in the dorms, which can make it easy for offenders to commit assault.

“No one really locks their doors and not everyone knocks, so anyone can come into your room,” Zuniga said. “Because there is a lot of drinking (in the dorms), it is possible for someone who is drunk and might not even live there to walk in someone’s room and take advantage.”

Sexual Assault Detective Carrie Hogan said another reason these sexual assaults are highly reported in the residence halls may be because residential advisors are mandated to disclose any sexual assault a resident tells them.

“Sometimes, the RA does not have a lot of details about where this sexual assault took place,” Hogan said.  “Because the police department does not have all the evidence, but they have to make record of the incident, they say that the issue occurred in the dorms because it is where (the assault) was reported.”

While the amount of reported total sex crimes dipped in 2013, the number reported in student housing still represented a high percentage.

Five sexual crimes on campus that year were rapes, four of which occurred in the residence halls.

In 2012 there was a total of 12 sexual crimes reported, 10 of which were rapes and nine of which occurred in the residence halls.

High amounts of sexual offenses reported in residence halls is not a statistic unique to San Diego State.

UC San Diego’s annual Security and Fire Safety Report recorded nine on-campus rapes, all of which occurred in a residence hall. In 2013, 16 of 20 sexual offenses also occurred in a residential building on campus.

Cal State San Marcos and the University of San Diego both reported 10 sexual assaults in 2014, most of those crimes occurred in campus housing.

However, not all San Diego universities have reported large amounts of on-campus sexual assault. Point Loma Nazarene University has reported only one sexual crime since 2012.

There is not one definite reason why most reported sexual offenses in the county occur in the residential facilities, but SDSU Police Cpt. Joshua Mays said the increase in reported sexual assaults at SDSU residence halls may be due to the university’s updated outreach program.

Every new SDSU student must go through orientation and at this orientation there is a section where students are given resources and taught how to handle sexual assault. This segment of the orientation previously lasted between 10 and 15 minutes, but in 2014, the university increased the segment to 30 minutes.

Mays said more reports mean the campus community is doing a better job at making sure the campus is safe and educating students.

“You can’t really say that there are more sexual assault on campus, and that they happen in the dorms,” Mays said. “But, (what) we can say is that there are more people reporting it and involving the police, which is a good thing.”

Check for updates on this story online at thedailyaztec.com.

 

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