The campus of the University of Colorado Boulder.

(Photo: iStockphoto.com)

Twenty-eight percent of woman and 6 percent of men at University of Colorado Boulder reported being sexually assaulted while in college, according to a new survey from the university.

National studies show CU’s numbers fall within the range reported on campuses nationwide (percentages in the 20s to mid-30s), according to Valerie Simons, CU's Title IX coordinator and executive director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. 

“We were within that range and obviously we were hoping to be lower,” she said. “It needs to go down. We believe any amount of sexual assault is too much.” 

The survey asked detailed questions about how sexual misconduct – ranging from rape to unwanted touching – occurred. Forty percent of women who reported sexual assault and 30 percent of men said the perpetrator used the fact they were incapacitated because of alcohol, drugs or sleep. 

One in 10 students said they had been victims of intimate partner abuse. Ten percent women reported being stalked; 3 percent of men reported the being stalked.   

There is a gap, however, between reports and incidents of sexual misconduct. Simons says the second phase of survey analysis will get at the barriers to reporting.      

“That’s going to be the critical data that will really inform education and prevention efforts,” she said.

Simons says the survey also acts as an educational tool about what sexual misconduct is, so eventually, reporting rates will go up.

Another area the university wants to increase education on is “bystander intervention.”  Currently, just 30 percent of undergraduates said they tried to interrupt when they saw an intoxicated person being led away into another room.

Simons says bystander intervention is key in preventing sexual assault. While she says 30 percent is too low, “I think it suggests that parts of our community are started to understand that we all have a role to protect members of our community.”

Just over 13,000 students participated in the survey last fall, about a 41 percent response rate.