Data Story: 10 Massachusetts Colleges Show a Decrease in Total Number of On Campus Sexual Assaults Reported in 2015, New Data Shows

Compared to 2014 reports, the total number amongst ten of Massachusetts’ colleges decreased from 100 sexual assaults reported to a total of 88 in 2015.

The study includes ten of the most well known universities and colleges in the Massachusetts area: Harvard University, MIT, Bentley University, Boston College, Berklee College of Music, Emerson College, Boston University and Northeastern University.

2014 On Campus Housing Rape Reports

versus

2015 Massachusetts On Campus Housing Rape Reports

The decrease, however, does not actually point to an increase in safety and security on campus. Emerson College and Berklee College of Music, both In Boston, had zero on campus sexual assaults reported in 2015. The total of lower numbers of reported sex assaults on campus reflect a lower percentage of victims reporting, and not necessarily a decrease in the number of rapes taking place. Rather, this study shows the reality that one in five women will be the victim of sexual assault during her college years.

Of the 10 schools reviewed, the highest total was at Harvard University, which maintained the same numbers as 2014, with a dramatic 33 reported assaults. The next highest totals in 2015 were 14 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 17 at Boston College, and  8 at Boston University 

Experts believe the numbers in both reports undercount the true (higher) numbers of sexual assaults happening on campus housing facilities. Specialists believe fear of victims coming forward plays a mayor factor for underreporting rape cases.

For those universities taking steps to address campus sexual assault, it will be telling to compare the 2016 data with future reports.

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