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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

One in Eight Students Experienced Sexual Assault

Approximately one in six women has been a victim of sexual assault on Middlebury’s campus or during a Middlebury program, according to Zeitgeist survey results. In total, 12% of respondents have been sexually assaulted. The survey reveals that female students are nearly five times more likely to be the victim of sexual assault than male students.

Furthermore, some students may be more likely to be victims of sexual assault or violence based on their sexual orientation. According to Zeitgeist, 22% of students who identified as homosexual, bisexual, or questioning reported being victims of sexual assault, more than twice as likely as the 9% of heterosexual students.

In recent years, sexual assault on college campuses has gained widespread attention across the nation. Student activists at Middlebury have used a variety of strategies to raise awareness surrounding sexual assault at Middlebury. Earlier this year, the student-run organization It Happens Here released The Map Project, a map of Middlebury’s campus that marks the location of an incidence of sexual assault or harassment with a red dot. The 2019 map, which used data  collected anonymously from Middlebury students during fall of 2018, had a total of 108 red dots covering buildings of campus, with Battell and Atwater Halls being among the most reported sites.

IHH and Zeitgeist show the prevalence of sexual assault at Middlebury, but rates of official reporting remain low. Only 18 of the 144 total victims of sexual assault reported the incident.Of those who did report the incident, only 3 people reported that they were satisfied with how the college handled their case.

In order to combat campus sexual violence, the college implemented the Green Dot Violence Prevention Strategy in 2015. Green Dot is a program that trains students, faculty, and staff in bystander intervention to help prevent instances of power-based personal violence. The training, which has been included in orientation for first-years since the class of 2018.5, encourages students to be proactive in preventing sexual violence as bystanders.

Zeitgeist asked survey respondents to indicate if they had been a bystander of a “Red Dot event,” referring to suspicious instances of potential or actual sexual assault. The proportion of Red Dot bystanders increased by roughly 5% with each grade level, with 21% of seniors and senior febs having served as a bystander in a Red Dot event compared to 6% of the first-year class. The overall Red Dot bystander rate was 13.91%.