Bill Flack presents the results of his 2014 Sexual Assault Survey

Kristen Verille, Contributing Writer

Associate Professor of Psychology Bill Flack delivered the results of his Fall 2014 Campus Sexual Assault survey on March 23, stating that 24 percent of female students will experience sexual assault while at the University. This survey, a combined effort of both Flack and the Bucknell Sexual Assault Research Team, is in no way an institutional effort by the University.

 

Flack believes that the number of female students that have experienced sexual assault as reported by the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey, which is used and supported by the University, is grossly understated.

 

His survey focuses purely on the experiences of students while at the University, and, in an attempt to ensure that respondents have access to appropriate clinical support services, is only given to students who are on campus. His results are based on the responses of a stratified random sample of University students, of which 42 percent had responded to the Fall 2014 Sexual Assault Survey.

 

According to Flack’s research, the conservative estimate of how many women will experience some form of sexual assault while on campus is 24 percent. In defining “conservative estimate,” he explained that, “24 percent is the bare minimum percentage of women experiencing some type of sexual assault in their time at Bucknell.”

 

However, Flack estimates that one in three female students is a much more accurate statistic. According to Flack, “About 12 percent of women in reasonably representative samples for one year are telling us that they have experienced at least one or more instances of attempted or completed rape.”

 

“You guys are here for four years and then you are gone. But there is something that stays beyond any student. A tradition that gets passed down. The idea that ‘things should be the way they were when I was here.’ Some things are really not good and need to change. The notion that only students can fix this problem is limited. I think it involves buy in at all different levels, all the way up to the trustees. Everybody needs to be part of the conversation,” Flack said in response to a student-generated question regarding how to combat the startling statistics.

 

The American College Health Association administers the University-supported NCHA, which collects data from universities across the country. The statistics shown on the University’s website demonstrate how it compares to both national statistics and statistics of other private baccalaureate schools in the Northeast. These statistics, depicted in graph form on the University’s website, show that 17 percent of the University’s female respondents have experienced sexual touching without consent, compared to the average of other similar schools in the Northeast (8 percent) and the national average of 7.5 percent. In the three remaining categories of sexual penetration attempt without consent, sexual penetration without consent, and sexually abusive intimate relationships, the University reports slightly higher statistics than both that of similar schools and the national average in all three categories. These results are based on the experiences of approximately 492 University undergraduate students (ranging from first-years to seniors) in the 12 months prior to the survey.

 

“I’ve really enjoyed being on Professor Flack’s research team because of the significant problem we have, not only on Bucknell’s campus, but nationwide. I admire Professor Flack’s dedication to educating the Bucknell community, as well as bringing to light statistics that many are unaware of,” Emma Shimony ’17, a member of the Bucknell Sexual Assault Research Team, said.

 

Flack will begin piloting a new survey in April, one that attempts to more fully include the experiences of seniors through their final semesters at the University.

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