Sexual Harassment Affects More Than Half of College Students

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

January 24, 2006

A recent study involving sexual harassment and college students is out and the results may surprise you.

A recent study by the American Association of University Women found that 62 percent of all college students experienced some form of sexual harassment. This means that the majority of students either know someone that it has happened to, or they themselves have been victims.

"I wasn't surprised at all with that number. In fact, I would have thought it might even have been higher," said director of Sexual and Domestic Violence Services at Uva's Women's Center, Claire Kaplan.

"I've already heard a few things from several friends that have had problems," added student, Kristen Long.

The number however did take others off guard.

"I'm very surprised by that stat. In my experiences, I haven't really seen it out. I go out all the time and party and I really haven't seen that," said 2nd year student, Evan Parter.

Sexual harassment can come from anyone, from another student to a professor, and happen just about anywhere. Also, it can come in a wide range of forms.

"People make comments when you walk by, women talk about going to parties and being groped, or just sexist comments," said Kaplan.

While men are more likely to harass than women, both were equally likely to be harassed on US campuses. Again, almost two-thirds.

"It's happened before and I've had friends everywhere that have had this happen to them as well," said 1st year student, Caitlin Mahoney

That leaves some students wondering if they need to be doing things a bit differently.

"That's kind of surprising and that causes me to question maybe I should protect myself a little bit more or just be a little bit more conscious of it," said 3rd year student, Janelle Todman.

Experts say if you are being sexually harassed, you should write down specifics about the incidents and definitely speak up, because they say silence works to the advantage of the perpetrator.

UVa students can always turn to the office of equal opportunity programs to report any incidents of sexual harassment.

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