‘Concerning’ survey results show 1 in 3 women at UNC have been sexually assaulted

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this week released the results of a survey showing about one in three undergraduate women said they’d been sexually assaulted.

UNC was among more than 30 public and private colleges to voluntarily take part in the survey. Nearly 6,000 students completed it, the university said.

UNC sent out a memo and results of the survey Tuesday to the community.

Among undergraduate students, 35.3% of females said they’d experienced unwanted sexual touching or penetration. That number climbed to 45 percent students in their fourth year or higher.

Additionally, 10.4 percent of male undergraduates reported experiencing that as well.

“Way more students are seeing other people come forward and seeing other experiences named in this way. And, they feel like they can actually look for resources,” said Gentry Hodnett, director of development and communications for the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.

UNC administrators declined CBS17’s requests for an interview.

In a memo to the community, Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Interim Vice Chancellor Becci Menghini wrote, “The data are very concerning and reinforce what we know to be true both on our campus and across the country: sexual assault and sexual harassment are serious problems that deeply affect our community.”

They write that the university convened a Sexual Assault Task Force to revise school policies and hired more staff members.

Following a five-year investigation, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights found the UNC mishandled sexual assault and harassment complaints. The OCR notified UNC of that finding last year.

At the time, UNC did not admit to any violations but did agree to review and potentially revise its Title IX policies.

“This has, unfortunately, been a typical college experience, which it should not be,” said Hodnett. “And, we’ve seen a huge uptick in clients over the last couple of years. We’ve more than doubled our client numbers.”

Hodnett said the Me Too movement has played in role in more survivors of sexual assault reporting those incidents.

“The truth of the matter is that we’re just finally getting to the tip of the iceberg about people coming forward,” she said. “We’ve had people that have called us, that their experience happened eight hours ago, or it could have happened 40 years ago.”

UNC administrators say they plan in the next month “to convene a coalition of students, faculty and staff to help us develop a comprehensive strategy for prevention and awareness that will resonate with students.”

UNC’s student government will hold a town hall Monday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in room 100 in the Genome Science Building.

For more resources from the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, visit their website: http://ocrcc.org/ or call 866-WE-LISTEN.

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