While college can be an exciting and enriching time for students, it can also be accompanied by some harsh realities, such as sexual assault, dating violence, and social pressures to drink alcohol. Unfortunately, these harsh realities occur on every campus nationwide.
The following page helps to develop your awareness about these issues and discusses resources for your student if he/she needs help.
- First, we’ll look at the scope of the issues
- Second, we’ll look at how Northwest College is educating students about these issues
- Third, we’ll offer further information for guidance on what you may want to talk to your student about
Scope of Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Alcohol Concerns
According to the National Violence Resource Center, one in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted while in college. More than 90% of sexual assault victims do not report the assault (NVRC, 2015).
Know Your IX provides an overview of statistics to illustrate the problem of sexual assault on college campuses nationwide:
- 90% of campus sexual assaults are committed by perpetrators that the survivor knows
- 84% of female survivors report being sexually assaulted during their first four semesters on campus. This has been called the “red zone” on college campuses
- The majority of college rapists are likely serial perpetrators, committing an average of six rapes each
- Gay and bisexual men are over ten times more likely to experience sexual assault than heterosexual men
- Individuals who identify as disabled are three times more likely to experience sexual violence than persons who do not identify as disabled; people who have multiple disabilities experience even higher rates of violence
- Only 2-10% of rapes are false reports, a rate that does not exceed the false reporting rates of other crimes (Know Your IX)
Dating violence can include controlling, aggressive, or abusive behaviors in a romantic relationship. It may involve verbal, physical, psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse.
According to Love is Respect, dating violence among college students is a problem. Consider the following statistics:
- Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors
- College students are not equipped to deal with dating abuse. For example, 57% say it is difficult to identify dating abuse, and 58% say they don’t know how to help someone who’s experiencing it
- One in six (16%) college women has been sexually abused in a dating relationship (Love is Respect)
The Campus Dating Violence Fact Sheet from the National Center for Victims of Crimes indicates that:
- 60% of acquaintance rapes on college campuses occur in casual or steady dating relationships
- 12% of completed rapes, 35% of attempted rapes, and 22% of threatened rapes occur on a date
- 39-54% of dating violence victims remain in physically abusive relationships
- Victims may remain in an abusive relationship for many reasons, including: fear of the perpetrator, self-blame, minimization of the crime, loyalty or love for the perpetrator, social or religious stigma, or lack of understanding (National Center for Victims of Crimes)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) addresses the consequences of dating violence. Youth who experience dating violence are more likely to experience the following:
- Symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Engagement in unhealthy behaviors, such as tobacco, drug, and alcohol use and abuse
Underage college drinking is a significant public health problem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), drinking at college has become a ritual that students often see as an integral part of their higher education experience.
One national survey found that 60% of college students ages 18-22 drank alcohol in the past month of the study, and almost two out of three of them engaged in binge drinking (NIAAA).
Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08g/dL. This typically occurs after four drinks for women and five drinks for men—in about two hours (NIAAA).
Researchers, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, estimate the following:
- Assault: about 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking
- Sexual Assault: about 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape
- Death: about 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes (NIAAA).
How does drinking affect students’ academic performance? About 1 in 4 college students report academic consequences from drinking, including missing class, falling behind in class, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades.
In a national survey of college students, binge drinkers who consumed alcohol at least three times per week were roughly six times more likely than those who drank but never binged to perform poorly on a test or project as a result of drinking and five times more likely to have missed a class (NIAAA).
How Northwest College is Addressing Issues of Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Alcohol
Northwest College trains students and employees about sexual misconduct each year. The following details the prevention efforts:
- Northwest College provides information on Title IX issues in courses such as First Year Seminars. Topics include sexual violence, an overview of Title IX policy and procedures, sexual consent, reporting options on and off campus, resources available on campus and in the community, the role of alcohol in sexual assaults, emotional effects of trauma, how to support a survivor, bystander intervention strategies, and sexual communication skills
- Northwest College provides a sexual assault prevention and awareness program in each hall during each semester. Topics may include, but are not limited to, alcohol’s role in sexual assault, bystander intervention strategies, sexual consent, sexual coercion, reporting options, and intimate partner violence
- Students can voluntarily attend Kick Off Weekend and Orientation program presentations on topics that address sexual assault prevention and awareness. These topics may include, but are not limited to, alcohol’s role in sexual assault, bystander intervention strategies, cultural influences related to sexual assault, healthy relationships, and sexual consent
- Northwest College Residence Assistants (RAs) are trained on topics such as community building, sexual assault report taking, report writing, resource referral, confidentiality, bystander intervention, dating and relationship violence, sexual harassment, and an overview of Title IX and their responsibilities
- Northwest College is committed to partnering with student clubs and organizations to promote discussion and awareness about topics such as sexual violence, cultural and social diversity, and intimate partner violence
- Northwest College is committed to partnering with community clubs and organizations to increase community-wide awareness on Title IX issues, along with other social topics that impact learning, understanding, and awareness of the world they live in
Topics You May Want to Talk to Your Student About
Consent, Sexual Coercion, and Incapacitation
For more information about sexual consent, how to communicate sexual consent, sexual coercion, and the role of incapacitation in sexual assault, please see the Consent and Sexual Communications page.
Zero Tolerance Laws
Zero Tolerance Laws state that people under the age of 21 must not drink alcohol and drive. Even if minors only have one drink, they will be punished for violating this law, regardless of whether they are physically impaired or not during driving.
For more information about drinking and driving in Wyoming, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Sobering Facts: Drink Driving in Wyoming.”
Being able to set boundaries is a part of a healthy relationships. For more information on how to set boundaries, please see the Relationship Boundaries page.
Relationship Red Flags
For more information about the early warning signs of an unhealthy relationship, see the Relationship Red Flags page.
To learn about Bystander Intervention and how your student may be able to intervene in a potentially problematic situation safely, see the Bystander Intervention page.
Options for Reporting an Assault
If your student experiences an assault at Northwest College or in the community, it is important to know reporting options. To understand the options, see the What to Do When an Assault Occurs page.
If your student is involved in a Title IX investigation, learn more about that process from the Investigation Process page.
How to Respond
For more information about how to respond to a victim of sexual violence or intimate partner violence, see the How to Respond to a Sexual Assault Survivor and the How to Respond to an Intimate Partner Violence Survivor pages.
Aftermath of Sexual Violence
To learn more about what a survivor may go through after an assault, see the Aftermath of Sexual Violence page.
Education and Awareness
Though issues of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and alcohol use/abuse can be difficult to talk about, it is important for students, parents, families, and the community to be educated and aware of these issues. The more we can be open about these issues, the better we can address them when they do happen, and the more equipped we will be to prevent them from happening.
To educate yourself and your student more on these topics, see the Educational Video Resources page.