A study conducted by the Association of American Universities (AAU) found that more than one in four undergraduate women have experienced sexual violence, further undermining conservative media's continuous efforts to deny the widespread problem of campus sexual assault.
The September 21 AAU report found that “more than one-fourth of undergraduate women,” or 27.2 percent of respondents from 27 colleges and universities participating in their research “said they had been sexually assaulted by force or when they were incapacitated,” according to the New York Times. The Times noted that the study, which was “one of the largest” of its kind ever conducted and included responses from over 150,000 students, “bolstered findings from previous studies” which also uncovered high rates of sexual violence on campuses across the United States.
Despite mounting evidence of the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and misconduct on college campuses, conservative media have continued to wage a relentless campaign to cast doubt on the seriousness of the crime. After Hillary Clinton released her proposal to address the “epidemic” of campus sexual assaults, right-wing media figures lashed out at statistics indicating the severity of the issue, claiming that the numbers are "not true," "debunked," and "totally bogus statistics" made up “under pressure from the radical, man-hating feminists” in the Obama administration.
Even as study after study similarly find high rates of sexual violence occurring on college campuses, conservative media continue to dismiss the findings going as far as to liken efforts to address the problem as “mass hysteria” akin to the Salem witch trials or claiming it is just a “war” on men.
And their efforts to dismiss the reality of campus sexual assault contribute to a cultural environment where victims of sexual violence don't feel comfortable reporting the crime. According to the AAU's new study, on campus “even the most serious incidents” of sexual violence on campus often go unreported as survivors “do not consider it 'serious enough'” and “a significant percentage of students say they did not report because they were '...embarrassed, ashamed or that it would be too emotionally difficult.”