There is an epidemic of sexual assaults in universities and community colleges across the country that needs to be quelled, said Sen. Claire McCaskill.
McCaskill, D-Mo., announced a survey of American colleges’ readiness to combat sexual assaults last Tuesday.
The survey, sent out to 350 universities and community colleges, will provide insight into schools’ effectiveness in cases of sexual assault, according to a news release from McCaskill’s office. Victims’ ability and resources to report assaults will be the survey’s primary focus.
“This survey will give us an unprecedented look into exactly how our colleges and universities act — or sometimes, fail to act — to protect students and bring perpetrators to justice,” McCaskill said in a statement.
McCaskill is no stranger to bringing perpetrators of sex crimes to justice. As a courtroom prosecutor in the 1990s, she specialized in cases of sexual assault and just last year was the driving force behind legislation to tighten sexual assault reporting procedures in the military.
Nineteen percent of undergraduate women have been the victims of reported sexual assault, though the unreported number might be higher, as 95 percent of college sexual assaults go unreported, McCaskill said.
“Just like the challenges we grappled with in confronting sexual assaults in our military, we need to ensure we have a firm grasp on the policies in place, and the reality on the ground, to inform any specific solutions,” McCaskill said. “This survey is an important part of that effort.”