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Sexual violence on college campuses is an alarming problem across the United States. In recent years, this topic has gained widespread media attention due to high profile cases and resistance efforts by student activists at colleges and universities across the country. However, literature suggests there is still confusion among college students as to what actions and behaviors meet the criteria for rape or sexual assault. Modeled after a study previously conducted at the College of the Holy Cross in 1998, 2003, and 2009, this paper assesses the prevalence of rape and sexual assault on the College’s campus, as self-reported by women students on an online questionnaire. Findings indicate that rape and sexual assault occur at the College at rates comparable to national averages for the age group. Additionally, findings indicate that it is likely that rates of rape and sexual assault may be even higher, as many respondents reported higher incidences of behavior that legally meet definitions for rape or sexual assault. The paper concludes with suggestions for future prevention initiatives to be implemented at colleges and universities across the country.
McGuire, Caitlin, "Defining Assault: How Holy Cross Women Identify and Make Sense of Sexually Assaultive Experiences" (2016). Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Student Scholarship. 1.