Campus sexual assault is an epidemic in the United States. Education is one of the many ways in which we can work together to prevent violence and promote advocacy on campus. Please note that interpersonal violence is both underreported, and under-researched, especially in marginalized communities. Despite this, we hope these statistics, facts, and definitions provide a useful overview of interpersonal violence. Please contact the SHARE office, or explore our Signature Events page to learn more.
United States of America
- Sexual violence on campus is pervasive. It is estimated that 13% of all students will experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).
- Most survivors of sexual violence are assaulted by someone they know.
- As few as 1 in 5 survivors will report to law enforcement, and/or receive assistance from survivor supporting agencies.
- Nearly half of the individuals who experience sexual assault tell no one about it.
- Students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college.
- It is estimated that nearly 6% of students have experienced stalking while in college.
- Sexual violence may result in depression, flashbacks, self-harm, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), substance abuse, dissociation, panic attacks, eating disorders, pregnancy, sleep disorders, and suicide.
- For every 100 rapes committed, approximately two rapists will ever serve a day in prison.
Princeton University (We Speak Report)
- During the 2016-2017 school year 16% of the students experienced some form of sexual misconduct including unwanted sexual contact, attempted sexual contact, suspected that sexual contact had occurred while incapacitated, stalking, an abusive intimate relationship, and/or sexual harassment.
- 61% of undergraduate students who experienced sexual assault identified their assailant as another Princeton undergraduate
- 22% of graduate students who experienced sexual assault identified their assailant as another Princeton graduate student
- The odds that undergraduates who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, asexual, or questioning experienced sexual misconduct were approximately 2 times greater than undergraduates who identify as heterosexual or straight
- Our data suggest that the odds that students who identified as Trans/Transgender, Genderqueer/Gender non-conforming, or another identity experienced sexual harassment or stalking were 4 to 5 times greater than the odds estimated for students who identified as being a man.
- 1st and 2nd-year undergraduates had the greatest odds of experiencing sexual misconduct over the 2016-2017 academic year
- 38% of undergraduates who experienced sexual assault first encountered their assailant in an eating club
- Of the 8% of graduate student women who experienced sexual harassment during the 2016-2017 academic year, 23% said that the harassment involved an employee/staff member, faculty member, or postdoc.
Sexual Violence and Marginalization
- Sexual violence has historically been and continues to be used as a tool to oppress marginalized populations.
- Biases and stereotypes about oppressed communities are used as justification for sexualized violence.
- Individuals with marginalized identities are at significantly greater risk for sexual violence. Those with multiple marginalized identifies are at the greatest risk.
- Gay and bisexual men are over ten times more likely to experience sexual assault than heterosexual men.
- Approximately 34% of multiracial women, 27% of Alaska Native/American Indian women, 22% of Black women, and 14.6% of Hispanic women are survivors of sexual violence.
- 23.1% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, representing one of the most at-risk groups.
The students, faculty, and staff of Princeton University have traveled from around the world to be a part of our community. Because laws vary greatly across state and national lines, it is essential we share a common language around issues of interpersonal violence and abuse. Please note that these definitions are intended to reflect current legislative definitions, and the most commonly accepted terminology, however, are not exhaustive. Please contact the SHARE office if you have questions or wish to learn more about these terms.
The voluntary, informed, uncoerced agreement through words and actions freely given, which a reasonable person would interpret as a willingness to participate in mutually agreed-upon sex acts.
Consent cannot be given when an individual is:
- Incapacitated due to alcohol and/or drugs
- Mentally or physically incapacitated
The actual or threatened physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse of an individual by someone with whom they have a current/prior intimate relationship or shared residence.
These relationships may include: partner/spouse, family member, caretaker, someone with whom a child is shared, household member or roommate.
Use of force or power, threatened or actual, against another person, that can result in physical or psychological harm.
Includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking.
This is an umbrella term that encompasses ANY form of unwanted or involuntary touching or penetration of intimate body parts, by a person of any gender.
This includes being forced to touch someone else.
"Unwanted or involuntary" sexual contact means that:
- Consent is not given, and the contact may include the use of threats, intimidation, coercion, or physical force OR
- Consent cannot be given because the contact is with those who are unable to give consent due to their age, physical helplessness, mental incapacitation, or incapacitation by alcohol or other drugs
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Threatening or rewarding academics (e.g., grades), employment or participation in any University activity or benefit based on willingness to submit to such conduct.
Interferes with a person’s educational experience or living/working conditions, due to the severe and/or pervasive nature of the conduct, by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Purposefully or knowingly engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety, the safety of a third person, or suffer other emotional distress.
“Course of conduct” is two or more acts of maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a person, either directly or indirectly by any action, method, device, or means.
Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics | RAINN. (2021). Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. https://www.rainn.org/statistics/campus-sexual-violence.
Effects of Sexual Violence. (2021). Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. https://www.rainn.org/effects-sexual-violence
Know Your IX: Statistics. (2017, March 13). Know Your IX. https://www.knowyourix.org/issues/statistics/
National Sexual Violence Resource Center: Statistics about sexual violence. (2015). National Sexual Violence Resource Center. https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_…
White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault. (2014, April). Not Alone: The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault. The United States Department of Justice. https://www.justice.gov/archives/ovw/page/file/905942/download