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Dealing with sexual assault on campus


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The spotlight on sexual assault and harassment in entertainment and business, among other areas, has gained momentum and reached hidden places because of the #MeToo movement and other organizations. Sadly, however, this has not stopped rape and sexual assault and harassment on campuses.  But victims in Colorado have rights and there are important things to know about this crime.

A sexual assault is any unwelcome sexual conduct that is committed by threat or force and without the victim’s consent. Unlawful contact may be direct or through clothing. In Colorado, sexual assault sentences are based upon the extent of violence in the assault and other aggravating factors.

Federal law, such as Title IX, requires colleges that receive federal financial assistance to provide equal benefits regardless of the student’s gender. Under Title IX, universities have been held responsible for sexual harassment and assault.

College aged individuals, of both genders, have a higher risk of a sexual assault than the general population. Twenty-eight % of female Colorado University undergrad students and six % of male CO undergrad students have undergone a rape or sexual assault on campus.

By some estimates, 90% of assaults are committed by a perpetrator known by the victim. LGBTQ students face more harassment than non-LGBTQ students.

Most assault and rape take place during the red zone from the beginning of the fall semester to Thanksgiving break. After the end of this period, however, freshmen and sophomores still undergo sexual violence at a disproportionate rate. Almost 90% of sexual assaults at CU, for example, take place during the victims’ freshman and sophomore year.

An estimated 54% of assaults are unreported mostly because victims are too frightened to make this allegation, or they feel that the assault was not serious enough. However, between 92 and 98% of assault reports are truthful.

A victim’s clothing or alcohol consumption does not diminish their rights in these cases. An attorney can help assert their legal rights and hold perpetrators responsible in assault cases on campus or in any location.

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