Sexual Assaults on HBCU campus Cause and effect of sexual assaults

At least one of 10 students attending an HBCU( Historically Black Colleges and Universities) experience being sexually assaulted by an assailant or someone they may have known or do know. This occurs at least once or twice every school year while living on a college campus. Most students are sexually assaulted while either walking alone or with a friend and the person normally catches them off guard. When incidents like this happen the case normally goes unsolved because most victims are too afraid to come forward and tell what happened or see that justice is served. With most HBCU campuses the students are afraid to come forward and tell their experience because they’re ashamed of what has happened to them in their own home. After that happens most victims decide not to return to school because they’re afraid it may happen again or they do not feel comfortable being on the same campus as someone who sexually assaulted them and got away with it.

Sexual assaults are very common on college campuses but when no one speaks out about their experience and give notice on how to avoid incidents like these, its possible chance that it will continue to go on until something is done about it. With incidents like sexual assaults and rape students should be very aware of their surroundings and the people they interact with it or hang around because it could be someone very close to violating your personal space without your consent in the most sexual violent way possible. In most cases the victim normally knows their attacker is afraid to come forward because they’re afraid that it will not get solved or hard to prove with sufficient or substantial evidence. The reason that is stated is because most sexual assaults occur without the consent of the victim because they were either drugged or too intoxicated to say yes or no. with sexual assaults on college campuses the main question that needs to be answered is will students ever feel safe enough to walk out of their home without feeling like someone may attack them while out at night.

A sexual assault is a sexual act in which the person is coerced or physically forced to engage against their will, or non-consensual sexual contact to a person. Different forms of sexual assaults are attempted rape, the penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape, forcing a victim to perform sexual acts or fondling or unwanted sexual touching. Statistics show that most sexual assaults occur while at a party, club or social events with people you trust and don’t fear to be around.

The most common type of sexual assaults that occur are called acquaintance rape which is when someone you may know or trust forces you to have sexual intercourse. At least 80% are acquaintance rapes and more than 50% of them happen while a person is on a date. Another sexual assault that is common is the drug facilitated sexual assault and this is when someone secretly drops drugs such as roofies or ecstasy in your drink. Drugs of those sort are mainly used so the victim won’t remember what happened the night before or would have a brief recollection of what happened to them the previous night. With these kind of drugs they are used to cloud your judgement, lack of coordination, confusion and reduce your levels of consciousness and by those drugs taking affect a sexual assault can occur anytime and you would not know what is happening to you. In the eyes of the law, when a person does not consent to have sex while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol it is considered sexual assault. Most of these different sexual assaults occur on college campuses or even at college parties and nine times out of 10 the victim knows their attacker.

While attending college one in 5 women or one in 16 men are sexually assaulted and this is one of the most under-reported crimes. At least 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to the authorities and the prevalence of false reporting an attack in between 2% and 10%. According to multiple studies done by The Sexual Victimization of College Women the estimated percentage of completed or attempted rapes and sexual assaults among young women in higher educational institutions range between 20% and 25% over the course a college career. It is estimated that for every 1,000 women attending a college or university, there are at least 35 incidents of rape or sexual assaults of each academic year, but the most common among college women is sexual assaults off-campus rather than on campus. Those victims of completed rapes and assaults 33.7% were victimized on campus and 66.3% were off campus. in one of the study’s at least one in 20 women have reported being raped while in college since the beginning of the year and those victims were too intoxicated to consent or refuse. Another study found that students living in dormitories or sorority houses are more likely to be sexually assaulted than students living off-campus.

While on college campuses the most students at greater risk are college freshmen and sophomore women than upperclassmen women. At least 84% of the women who reported sexually coercive experiences on college campuses experienced the incident during their first semesters while living on campus. And by the time they would’ve completed their four years of college at least one-third of college women would’ve experienced sexual assault while residing on campus. Most of college student sexual assaults are associated with the use of alcohol and drugs that are accompanied by the people they’re interacting with.

Most women attending an HBCU college are more likely to experience a sexual assault the beginning of their first year. While attending an HBCU or PWI, incidents of sexual assaults are very common amongst younger students who live on college campuses. In some studies it was shown that incidents of sexual assaults on HBCUs are lower than they are on PWIs, but the rates at HBCUs are more alarming and underreported than those at PWIs. With PWIs, once an incident of sexual assault occurs it is most likely to get reported because victims attending a PWI will report their incident before a student attending an HBCU. The reason for that is because most victims do not want to turn in the guy who has his life together or is doing well on campus and incident reported like that could ruin his life. In most incidents of sexual assaults, the race card is played somewhat often or is a factor while attending different institutions. with HBCUs most sexual assaults are more likely occur by the victim knowing the perpetrator while attending PWIs those may occur while attending parties and the victim was possibly intoxicated or drugged at the time.

With PWIs and HBCUs sexual assaults have become one of the top crimes that occur on campus but are much underreported do to certain reasons. In fact, in some research it was estimated that 20% of women attending PWIs are sexually assaulted every year but at an HBCU the rate is lower to 14% of women being sexually assaulted. The reason for the numbers being low at an HBCU is because some say there is less alcohol use and that HBCUs have inclusive family communities or those crimes are underreported but with PWIs alcohol consumption and drugs is an all-time high which can result to unconsented sexual acts. While attending these different types of institutions anything can happen to someone.

On the night of December 5, 2014 at 2:30 a.m. two women, who were not named, attending Savannah State University was sexually assaulted and robbed at their dorm in the University Commons residence hall, which is one of the school’s apartment-style housing facilities. It was stated in the report that the assailant Tory Sicarr Nigel Scott is the man responsible for this crime. Scott was not a student, but someone who found access onto the school and held two females at gunpoint, sexually assaulted them and robbed them of their stuff. He was charged with rape, aggravated sodomy and aggravated assault and armed robbery. After this incident happen the two young women felt very unsafe and did not want to return to school because they were afraid something like this could possibly happen again. The case is still going on but the assailant will be charged with those crimes.

Another incident of sexual assault at Savannah State University was a case that was solved very quickly by the police and Savannah State police. The case was a female student was attack a Savannah State by the name of Najim Muhammad. Muhammad was arrested the day after the incident occurred and charged with sexual assault. Once he was arrested the police department on campus worked with the Chatham County Police Department to solve this case as quickly as possible. While the incident was being solved the victim received an email from the institution that was inappropriate and deemed lack of concern and feeling for the victim. In the email that was sent to the victim it stated: “Given the allegations involved in this case, you are MANDATED to refrain from having any contact with the other party in this matter. Consider this your Official Warning. You will be subject to suspension and/or expulsion from Savannah State University should you violate any provisions of this order or violate additional University policies.” when the student received that email the family as well as her was not understanding why she sent that email and how they felt the school victimized her all over again. The student also felt that the school was insensitive and did not find any remorse for sending such a degrading and evil message to someone who was just violated and assaulted. With victims of sexual assaults their lives are changed forever. They’re not used to doing the same thing every day and they even decide to switch up things so that it won’t seem as if their attacker is following them wherever they go.

Sexual assaults in the eyes of a psychiatrist are said that a person who commits such a crime has a mental illness that they may be suffering from and could possibly need to seek medical attention. A psychology professor at the University of North Carolina by the name of Jacquelyn White gave a speech at the SPSSI’s Congressional Lunch Seminar on Capitol Hill. Her main focus of the speech was titled “Focus on Campus Sexual Assault: What We Know, How We Know It, and What to Do about It.” she starts off by saying that sexual assaults on college campuses have become a major nation-wide issue. In a study that White participated in she found that 20 percent of incoming first year women were raped or have been raped prior to coming to college. In her speech she goes on to talk about the consequences of sexual assaults and how they are very severe. When a person becomes a victim of sexual assault on a college campus that person becomes at risk to suffer from mental and physical health problems, impaired academic performance and an increased likelihood of dropping out of school or transferring to a school that is closer to their home and family. The victim also deals with not reporting the assault which can cause for other problems to occur in their life.

In some new research done by the American Psychological Association (APA) it showed a pattern of underreporting of on-campus sexual assaults by universities and colleges across the nation ( The study shows how even though schools are being fines for violations of federal law, they’re still continuing underreporting those sexual assaults. a law professor at the University of Kansas by the name of Corey Rayburn Yung, JD, said that “When it comes to sexual assaults and rape, the norm for universities and colleges is to downplay the situation and number and as a result students at many universities continue to be attacked and victimized and punishment isn’t meted out to the rapists and assaulters.” according to the researcher Yung, he analyzed the numbers that were reported for on-campus sexual assaults by 31 large universities and colleges during their audits by the U.S. Department of Education for compliance. While reviewing the audits, the reported numbers of sexual assaults had increased by 44 percent from the previously reported levels and after the audits were completed the numbers dropped to pre-audit levels which showed evidence that some schools only provided accurate numbers when they were under federal scrutiny. yung also found that the research included all large schools with on-campus housing and has has more than 10,000 students enrolled in the school, but the study didn’t have individual statistics for the schools listed and a few of those 31 schools didn’t show an increase in reported sexual assaults at all.

when trying to prevent sexual assaults on HBCU campuses they inform students that they should not walk alone at night, to always be with a friend when walking somewhere and it is very late, to always be aware of your surroundings and to make sure that you are protected at all times. Some other ways to prevent sexual assaults to always report when you see or feel there is suspicious activity occurring on campus or when someone who may not be a student is roaming the campus late at night. HBCU campuses should host awareness classes and hold seminars explaining the importance of being aware of sexual assaults and how to always protect yourself when you’re alone and approached by someone you may not know. Being aware of sexual assaults on campus will help students on knowing what to do and how to prevent things like this from happening. It will help with keeping their safe and out of harm’s way of predators lurking on the campus without permission. With different classes and seminars being held it helps students to understand that their safety is important and anyone can be hurt or sexually assaulted while walking by themselves or even with friends. An issue like this is important and the students should be aware of their surroundings and where they travel to at night and be cautious of who they’re around because not everyone has your best interest at heart or your safety for that matter.

Different charts showing the statistics of sexual assaults on college campuses. Statistics taken from other schools showing sexual assaults on college campuses.

Created By
Erin Barton


Created with images by Alachua County - "sexual assault awareness month"

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