Penn State

New Penn State Survey Finds Sexual Misconduct Common Among Students

A survey of sexual misconduct at Penn State's main campus found that more than three-quarters of undergraduate women have experienced offensive or harassing behavior from other students, university officials announced Wednesday.

The Penn State Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey was completed by nearly 3,000 of the campus' approximately 40,000 undergraduates, and more than 1,600 graduate students.

About one out every five undergraduate women responding to the survey reported being sexually assaulted while they were too drunk or incapacitated to know what was happening.

The report said 30 percent of all undergrads reported that someone had tried to establish a romantic, sexual relationship despite the students' attempts to discourage it. For women, the number was more than 40 percent. The unwanted advances included attempts to stroke, fondle or kiss the student.

The most common reason for not reporting incidents of stalking, violence or nonconsensual sexual contact was a feeling it would cause more trouble than it was worth. Significant numbers of students also cited embarrassment and a desire not to cause trouble for the perpetrator.

The survey found undergraduate women are experiencing the most problems with sexual attitudes and behavior, but also recorded significant rates of problems across gender lines, among different sexual persuasions and by graduate students.

Some form of stalking behavior, including being spied on, having someone show up unwanted or being given unwanted gifts, was experienced by 21 percent of undergrads and 12 percent of grad students.

Violent behavior by intimate partners or dates was reported by 12 percent of undergraduates and 7 percent of graduate students. Across all categories of victims, the most common offender by far was a male Penn State student.

Among undergraduate respondents, 56 percent were women and 5 percent lesbian, gay or bisexual. About 41 percent lived on campus.

The climate survey was among 18 policy or procedural recommendations contained in a 2015 task force report on how the school deals with sexual misconduct.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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