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August 4, 2015

Sexual Assaults Among University StudentsPrevention, Support, and Justice

Author Affiliations
  • 1Georgetown University Law Center, O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2015;314(5):447-448. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.6330

Sexual assault is common among college-aged women (18 to 25 years). In 2007, 1 in 5 reported experiencing these crimes during their college years.1 Acute and long-term consequences of sexual assault may include physical trauma, sexually transmitted infections, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance abuse. Although sexual assaults are underreported in all settings, college students are particularly less likely to report; up to 80% of sexual assaults in college settings are unreported.2 Survivors have the option of reporting assaults to the university or to the police, but the goals of these 2 systems—and women’s experiences with them—can be quite different. The criminal justice system’s principal aim is to adjudicate guilt, but the university has the broader purpose of fostering a safe learning environment.

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