“Campus crime victims are now more likely to get the attention and the services they need. But we're far from meeting all our challenges,” Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Mary Lou Leary said today at a forum on campus safety sponsored by the Clery Center for Security on Campus in Washington, D.C. “Crime and violence continue to be a reality for too many students – in some cases, as in the recent death of Alexandra Kogut, a tragic reality.” Kogut, 18, was found dead last weekend in her dorm room at the State University of New York College at Brockport. A 21-year-old student at another college has been arrested.
Leary said the challenge that stands out is sexual assault. She cited studies sponsored by the National Institute of Justice reporting that between 14 and 30 percent of college students experience some type of sexual violence during their college careers. In one study, nearly 12 percent reported being a victim of forcible rape. Research suggests that as many as 90 percent of campus sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone known to the victim. Often, alcohol is involved. Only a small fraction of rapes of college students are reported because victims feel they bear some responsibility, Leary said. She added that, “Sometimes victims don't report because they simply don't know how, or because they think they'll be poorly treated by the police or other parts of the system. As long as this fear of reporting prevails, we have more to do.”