Sexual assault survey responses released

Shows 8.1 percent of respondents had nonconsensual sexual contact

By Grant Morgan, Managing Editor

Students received troubling, but important, news in a special edition of Zipmail yesterday.

The letter was from President Scott Scarborough, and it highlighted some of the findings from the UA Sexual Assault and Violence Education Team (SAVE) survey from earlier this year.

Unlike other universities’ sexual assault surveys, the report claims, this one was unique, as it was sent out to not only students, but faculty and staff. 3,340 surveys were completed in the allotted timeframe for response, March 2 to April 3.

What follows are the results from the report’s executive summary, which weren’t much different from results Scarborough referenced in his letter.

Though it requires “additional review and study to verify results,” the survey showed that 8.1 percent of respondents have had non-consensual sexual contact. This, the report says, “is unacceptable and requires concerted action from the Akron community.”

Scarborough’s letter cited these related statistics: that 6.9 percent of students, and 10.2 percent of females, have had non-consensual sexual contact.
“I am sure you find the numbers troubling,” Scarborough added, “and you agree with me that none of us can be satisfied with our efforts to combat this problem until we reach zero.”

The survey further showed that respondents were much more confident in their own ability to intervene in potentially problematic situations than in their fellow students’ ability to both intervene in and report incidents. For this, the report suggests more bystander intervention training.

“Think About It” is one such program that UA already uses. Designed to educate students about sex, drugs, and alcohol, and first sent out to each incoming freshman in August of 2014, it is designed to, among other things, teach bystander intervention. In its inaugural run, 3,667 students took the training, out of the 5,122 to whom it was offered.

Also in the survey were results regarding males’ and females’ perceptions of sexual assault, which were markedly different.

The report gave as an example the differences in men’s and women’s responses to the statement: “When women go to parties wearing revealing clothes they are asking for trouble.” Women disagreed more strongly with the statement than men, the report says.

“This and other findings support the need to design additional educational programs for male students,” Scarborough wrote in his letter, without giving specifics.

The survey was sent to those at the Medina County University Center, Wayne College, and UA’s branch campus in Lakewood; the results will be used to develop specific programs to combat sexual violence. SAVE will release an addendum to the report soon, which will include responses to each question.

SAVE was formerly known as the Sexual Assault Resource Team, or SART.