WASHINGTON — Reports of sexual violence on college campuses are on the rise — especially at the flagship public universities of Virginia and Maryland.
In 2013, there were 19 reports of forcible sex at the University of Maryland — that’s up nine from 2012. Also, the University of Virginia had 27 reports in 2013, up from 11.
“Definitely the administrators are working with the health center counseling to increase how they can help students,” says Kristie Kim, a UMd. senior on the Dean’s Student Advisory Board.
The number of sex offenses reported at American colleges and universities went up in the last decade even as overall campus crime decreased, according to an Education Department survey released in June.
There were 3,330 forcible sex offenses reported on campuses in 2011, the latest data available for colleges and universities that researchers analyzed as of June. That was a roughly 52 percent increase from the 2,200 reported a decade earlier.
Kim, a Silver Spring native, says the University of Maryland is opening a dialogue with students about sexual assaults as well as drinking.
Schools, such as UMd., say outreach and education are helping prevent some assaults and pointing student in the right direction if they have a complaint.
Experts say the uptick in reports may be attributed to an increase in students stepping forward to get help following a sexual assault.
Still, UMd. junior and Rockville resident, Sean Halabi says he is skeptical.
“The fact that it’s being reported more is good, but it feels like that kind of stems from the fact that it might be happening more,” he says.