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Williams Has the Fifth Highest Rate of Rape in the Country

Latest news:

Harvard University tops the list of rapes reported on Massachusetts college campuses, according the recently released federal data. The Cambridge-based campus had 33 reported rapes in 2014, the latest year data is available through the U.S. Department of Education statistics.

The second and third highest number of reported campus rapes were reported at Boston College with 22 and Williams College with 19. If looking at rapes per capita, Williams tops the list with 8.9 per 1,000 students. That per capita number also puts Williams as fifth highest number of rapes reported at college campuses across the country.

1) Note that 19 rapes does not match up with the two most recent annual reports from Williams, discussed here and here. Probably cause is calendar year versus academic year reporting standards.

2) Data is related to the Clery Act. Go here to examine other schools. For Williams, the key sections include:

clery1

clery2

Does this mean that there were 4 rapes at Williams that occurred outside student housing? What the hell! If Williams students are being raped (by strangers!?) as they walk outside, then sexual assault is truly out of control. I assume that there is some other explanation . . .

3) The Record ought to write a story about this data and what it means.

4) Best part is this note appended to the end of the story:

Editor’s Note: A Williams College spokesperson provided a clarification late Wednesday noting that the number of rapes were those reported in 2014, not necessarily those that occurred. The school hired its first director of sexual assault prevention and response in 2014, so an increase in reports was expected.

Hmmm. Lots of different ways to parse this clarification. Is Williams claiming that 19 is an over-estimate because there are lots of false reports? Or is it that there were just as many rapes before 2014 but that students declined to report them because Dean of the College Sarah Bolton was a well-known misogynist?

Long time readers will recall that Williams has a history of making technically-correct but still-very-weird clarifications like this.

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#1 Comment By John C. Drew, Ph.D. On June 12, 2016 @ 7:27 pm

I think the most likely explanation for the high number of per capita rates of rape at William College is per capita alcohol consumption.

Apparently, Williams is off the charts in terms of drug and alcohol use. See, https://colleges.niche.com/williams-college/rankings/ When I taught at Williams, I was startled by all the drinking I witness on campus among the students.

Unfortunately for Williams, there is a strong connection between alcohol and rape due to multiple factors. See, http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-1/43-51.htm

Ultimately, I think the cause of William’s high level of rape is more effectively traced to alcohol than the so-called rape culture of the campus.

#2 Comment By disgusted On June 12, 2016 @ 9:38 pm

How much prevention is there really when the “first director of sexual assault prevention and response” leads Williams to expect an increase in reports?

Given this unacceptable state of affairs, is it really responsible for the college to avoid facing the perils of (often illegal) consumption of alcohol and the vile hook-up culture to avoid victim-blaming or shaming? Everyone should be ashamed.

#3 Comment By ’89er On June 13, 2016 @ 9:04 am

Anytime you create more awareness, provide additional resources and access for reporting of crime and provide necessary victim support one may see an increase in reporting of crime.

It is why simply seeing a decline in reported crime is not necessarily by itself a good thing. It may represent a sense among victims that the institution is not supportive of them.

I would surmise, given the violent nature of rape, the above dynamics are true for reporting of rapes.