New study: 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted during first year of college

A new survey reveals surprising statistics about college sexual assault. (WISH File Photo)

NEW ENGLAND (WISH) – New research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health reveals startling statistics about sexual assaults on young women at college campuses.

The study claims that one in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape by the end of their first year in college.

The researchers say the results show rape among young women has reached epidemic levels.

In this study researchers focused on one, unnamed large university in the northeast.  They say even though the study had a narrow focus, it suggests a similar pattern across the country.

The study surveyed 483 college freshman women between 18 and 21 years old.  By the end of their 1st year, the study found that nearly 19% had been raped by the end of their freshman year.

According to the survey, about 15% of those women say they were raped or someone tried to rape them while they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that they were unable to resist or consent. Nine percent reported that they were raped or someone attempted to rape them by force. Some of the women in the study reported more than one incident.

Researchers from Brown and Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine are behind the study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

One author said that focusing on prevention is key. Entire communities need to get involved in the conversation about what is and isn’t consent. She also said emphasis needs to be placed on how drinking excessively is just not a good idea on many levels.

This study is published as IU South Bend is working to increase campus security after a rise in sexual assault reports, and students at Purdue are pushing for a rape crisis center on campus. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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