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Study conducted by a U of A Fayetteville researcher sheds light on sexual assault

Study conducted by the U of A Fayetteville sheds light on sexual assault

A new study conducted by a researcher at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville is shedding light on sexual assault on college campuses, revealing how prevalent it is and what can be done about it.

“Campuses like U of A, those characteristics tend to suggest a higher rate for sexual assault,” said Dr. Kristen Jozkowski, associate professor of public health and program coordinator for the University of Arkansas.

There were 1,000 participants in the study. About 73 percent of them were women. Roughly 26 percent were men. The study found that 1 in 3 participants experienced sexual contact without consent, a higher rate than the national average as reported by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2016.

Ninety-six percent of those that said they'd been sexually assaulted said a man had assaulted them. More than half of those involved in the study said alcohol had been consumed when a sexual assault occurred.

On Thursday, the university’s findings were presented to the Arkansas Legislative Council.

“They wanted to understand what was going on in our state to figure out how to better address it,” said Jozkowski.

The study also examined how sexual assault cases are reported.

“I was shocked and concerned that not a single victim had gone to the U of A police or the Fayetteville police," State Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, said. "I know a lot hesitate, but the fact that not a single victim who responded to her survey did is a very big problem."

According to Jozkowski, one reason for the lack of reporting is the power dynamic that exists on college campuses.

"I think it’s important to realize some of the power dynamics that exist on college campuses in terms of social power among university students. So entities like athletics and Greek life … as well as just generally men having a different dynamic when it comes to their sexual permissiveness, there is a power element there,” she said.

The majority of the survey’s participants still have a positive perspective when it comes to the school’s safety.

Jozkowski said the findings of the study are consistent with universities with similar demographics.

Leding believes introducing sex education to students at an earlier age could help reduce sexual misconduct in college.

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