Learn More

Increase in Sexual Assault Cases on College Campuses Raises Alarms

June 12, 2024
Sexual Assault and STD

The alarming rise in sexual assault cases on college campuses is a pressing issue that demands immediate attention. Recent studies reveal that a significant number of students, particularly women and marginalized groups, are experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact and other forms of sexual violence. Institutions like the University of Florida and Cornell University report troubling trends, with incidents occurring both in residential halls and broader campus areas. This increase not only highlights the vulnerability of students but also calls for a collective action to create safer campus environments

How to Protect Yourself or a Loved One

Protecting yourself or a loved one from sexual assault on college campuses involves a combination of personal safety measures, awareness, and utilizing available resources

Start by familiarizing yourself with the campus layout and staying alert. Use the buddy system and communicate your plans to friends or family. Enrolling in self-defense courses can also be empowering. 

Make sure that you utilize campus security services, such as escorts, and safety apps for added protection. Familiarize yourself with campus resources like counseling centers. Participating in educational programs about sexual assault prevention and consent can further enhance safety​.

What is Considered Sexual Assault in Florida?

In Florida, sexual assault encompasses any non-consensual sexual contact or behavior, including unwanted touching, forced sexual interactions like rape, sexual coercion, and sexual exploitation such as human trafficking. Statutory rape and child molestation are also forms of sexual assault​. Sexual battery, a specific type of sexual assault, involves unlawful vaginal, anal, or oral penetration without consent and carries severe penalties including long prison sentences, fines, and mandatory registration as a sex offender​​.

Different Types of Sex Crimes

Sex crimes include a range of illegal activities involving sexual conduct. Key types are:

  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Child molestation
  • Child pornography
  • Sex trafficking
  • Indecent exposure
  • Prostitution

These crimes carry severe penalties, including imprisonment and mandatory registration as sex offenders.

Stats on Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Nationally, about 13% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation, with undergraduate women being particularly at risk (26.4%) compared to their male counterparts (6.8%)​​. Specific incidents and trends vary across universities. For example, at the University of Florida, 67 cases of rape and sexual assault have been reported on campus over the past five years, with residential halls accounting for about a quarter of these cases​​. 

Similarly, a survey at Cornell University revealed that 11% of students experienced nonconsensual sexual contact since enrolling, with higher rates among marginalized groups​. Despite the prevalence, many incidents go unreported, highlighting the need for better awareness and support systems for victims.

Where Does Florida Fall on This Issue?

Like many states, Florida has seen efforts to address this issue through legislation, campus policies, and educational initiatives. Universities and colleges in Florida often have their own protocols and support systems in place for survivors of sexual assault, including counseling services, reporting mechanisms, and prevention programs.

What to Do If You Are Assaulted on Campus

If you are sexually assaulted on a college campus, it's crucial to prioritize your safety and well-being. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Ensure Your Safety: If you are in immediate danger, try to get to a safe location as soon as possible. If necessary, call emergency services (911) for assistance.
  2. Seek Medical Attention: It's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don't have visible injuries. Medical professionals can assess your physical condition, treat any injuries, and address concerns about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy.
  3. Preserve Evidence: Try to preserve any evidence of the assault by avoiding bathing, showering, changing clothes, or brushing your teeth until you've spoken with law enforcement or a medical professional. If you do change clothes, place the ones you were wearing during the assault in a paper bag to preserve any evidence.
  4. Contact Law Enforcement: You have the option to report the assault to law enforcement. You can contact campus security or local police to file a report.
  5. Seek Support: Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or support organizations for emotional support.
  6. Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights as a survivor of sexual assault. Colleges and universities are required by law to have procedures in place for handling reports of sexual assault. You have the right to access support services, medical care, and academic accommodations.
  7. Consider Counseling: Talking to a trained counselor or therapist can be beneficial in processing the trauma of sexual assault and navigating the healing process.
  8. Explore Legal Options: You may want to explore legal options such as filing a restraining order, pursuing a criminal case against the perpetrator, or seeking civil remedies.

On Campus Resources Available for Students

Sexual assault is a horrifying experience that can leave survivors feeling isolated, confused, and unsure of where to turn. This is especially true for college students, who may be navigating a new environment and feeling overwhelmed by the aftermath of an assault. However, it's important to remember that you are not alone. Most colleges and universities have a network of resources available to support survivors and help them navigate the healing process.

Here's a glimpse into some of the on-campus resources you may find helpful:

  • Counseling Centers
  • Sexual Assault Advocacy Programs
  • Health Services
  • Title IX Coordinators
  • Student Advocacy Representatives
  • Trusted Professors and Advisors

Reaching out for help can feel daunting, but remember that these resources are here for you. You don't have to go through this alone.

Should You Consult an Attorney?

Consulting an attorney can be highly beneficial for survivors of sexual assault, as they can provide essential guidance and support throughout the legal process. Attorneys can help survivors understand their legal options, navigate complex legal proceedings, protect their rights, seek compensation for damages, and provide valuable emotional support. 

By choosing an attorney with experience in handling sexual assault cases, survivors can gain a trusted ally who is dedicated to advocating for their best interests and helping them pursue justice and healing.

Mase Seitz Briggs: Your Campus Defender

At Mase Seitz Briggs, we understand the unique challenges that survivors face and are dedicated to providing you with the legal expertise and compassionate support you deserve. You can trust us to fight tirelessly for your rights and to be a beacon of hope in your pursuit of justice.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate this difficult time and work towards a brighter future. Don't hesitate to reach out to us at 786-751-4651 or on our website for a confidential consultation.

Return to All Blogs
Share This Story
If you found the information provided by this article useful, consider sharing to your social media channels to help others in their search for reliable personal injury resources.
Get Your Case Evaluation
Contact us online now by using the form below, or call us at (305) 377-3770.

Get Your Free Consultation
Mase Seitz Briggs
2601 South Bayshore Drive
Suite 800
Miami, FL 33133

Phone: 305-487-8863
Toll Free: 1-844-904-1749
Fax: 305-377-0080
1200 N Federal Hwy
Suite 200
Boca Raton, FL 33432

Phone: 561-210-8516
Fax: 561-210-8301
*Available by Appointment*
crosschevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram