Council says too few college students report sex attacks
Less than five percent of college woman report rape, according to sobering national statistics divulged yesterday at a City Council meeting.
And even if victims report on campus, only a handful meet with city police officers.
A Council meeting yesterday honed in on sexual assaults on campus, which Council members said are surely under reported.
Council data revealed 19 reported sex offenses at Columbia University in 2009 and 2010 alone.
“We’ve heard the statistics, and frankly, they’re pretty scary,” said Queens Councilman Peter Vallone, whose daughter just started college.
At the City University of New York, the only school to attend the hearing, reports of sexual harassment are on the rise – 151 cases for the 2011-2012 school year, compared to 102 the year before.
But many of these reports do not make it to the NYPD – some victims choose not to speak to cops, CUNY representatives said, or the school may not classify an incident like stalking as a crime they push to city police.
And Council stats showed that only a handful of sex offenses, for example just one forcible sex offense at NYU in 2011, are in federal U.S. Department of Education statistics.
Activists and prosecutors say the numbers are actually much higher – many victims fear reporting, from either retaliation, lack of confidence that authorities will follow through or assuming it is not a big deal.
“No one wants to say to themselves, ‘You know what, I think this is really dangerous,’ because it’s scary,” said Wanda Lucibello, chief of the Brooklyn district attorney’s office Special Victims Division. “It’s too scary to confront them for the possibility.”
For help, any of the 50,000 college students in Brooklyn can go to the Family Justice Center downtown, she added.