Overview: Sexual Misconduct Survey

Overview of the Fall 2015 Sexual Misconduct Survey

  • The purpose of the survey was to understand the frequency and types of sexual misconduct experienced by our students from the time they arrived at CU-Boulder, including incidents that occurred on-campus or off-campus.
  • We assessed students’ understanding and awareness of campus resources and reporting options, as well as performance of bystander intervention behaviors associated with reducing the likelihood of sexual misconduct.
  • The results will be used to expand existing and develop new prevention programs, educational outreach initiatives, and investigation processes and policies to foster and maintain a safe and nondiscriminatory environment on-campus.
  • The survey assessed the occurrence of those behaviors prohibited by University of Colorado Sexual Misconduct Policy: non-consensual sexual intercourse/penetration and non-consensual sexual contact (collectively referred to as sexual assault), sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, intimate partner abuse, and stalking.
  • The survey was developed by CU-Boulder experts from campus departments that specifically address the issue of sexual misconduct from either a response or prevention perspective along with survey staff and analysts from Institutional Research in the Office of Data Analytics.
  • The CU-Boulder Institutional Review Board determined that this study did not require IRB review, as this project does not involve research and is not generalizable. The goal of this survey was to fill gaps in our understanding of the frequency and types of sexual misconduct experienced by CU-Boulder students and to use the survey findings for program improvement.
  • The survey was administered between October 19 and November 16, 2015. All undergraduate (n=26,158), graduate (n=5,408), and non-degree-seeking (241) students were invited to participate.
  • Each participant who completed the survey was offered the option of receiving a $5 Campus Cash deposit to the student’s account. Total cost of survey incentives was $62,000.
  • There were 10,340 undergraduate (53% women), 2,596 graduate (45% women), and 73 non-degree-seeking (36% women) students who responded to the survey yielding an overall response rate of 41%.
  • Survey responses were reviewed for completeness and consistency. Respondents who left the sexual assault questions blank or did not identify a sexual assault tactic were excluded from the data analyses. Survey data for respondents who answered questions in an erroneous or contradictory pattern were also excluded from the final analysis.
  • The survey respondents were representative of the student population in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, college, and class level.
  • Survey respondents self-identified as heterosexual (86%), bisexual (5%), gay or lesbian (2%), asexual (2%), or questioning (1%). Additionally, 3% preferred not to answer and 1% indicated that their sexual orientation was not represented on the list we provided.
  • In response to the question on gender identity, 51% of respondents identified as a woman, 47% identified as a man, 1% identified as a transgender man, transgender woman, or gender queer/gender-nonconforming, and 1% indicated that they preferred not to answer.
  • The questions about sexual assault included three groups of behaviors: sexual exposure, sexual touching, and sexual intercourse/penetration.
  • Of the 13,009 students who responded, the aggregate rates for sexual misconduct experienced on or off campus while a student at CU-Boulder are as follows:
    • 1,990 (15%) reported experiencing sexual assault (ranging from unwanted sexual touching to penetration)
    • 509 (4%) reported experiencing sexual exploitation
    • 2,315(18%) reported experiencing sexual harassment
    • 1,302 (10%) reported experiencing intimate partner abuse
    • 839 (6%) reported experiencing stalking
  • For undergraduates, rates of all types of sexual misconduct were:
    • Sexual assault (28% women, 6% men)
    • Sexual exploitation (6% women, 3% men)
    • Sexual harassment (28% women, 9% men)
    • Intimate partner abuse (14% women, 7% men)
    • Stalking (10% women, 3% men)
  • For graduate students, rates of all types of sexual misconduct were:
    • Sexual assault (10% women, 2% men)
    • Sexual exploitation (women 2%, men 1%)
    • Sexual harassment (20% women, 7% men)
    • Intimate partner abuse (8% women, 5% men)
    • Stalking (8% women, 2% men)
  • Students who reported having been sexually assaulted since arriving at CU-Boulder (either on-campus or off-campus) were asked about the total number of incidents of sexual assault they had experienced.  Of those students who reporting having been sexual assaulted: 50% reported experiencing one assault, 27% two assaults, 12% three assaults, and 10% four or more incidents.