Sexual Assault Reports are on the Rise at St. Cloud State University
ST. CLOUD -- Reports of sexual assault are on the rise at St. Cloud State University.
St. Cloud State recently released its annual security and fire report. The report says 18 incidents of sexual assault were reported in 2015. Sexual assault includes rape, fondling, incest and statutory rape. Among the 18 incidents, 16 were reported as rape and two were fondling.
Of the 16 reported rapes 14 occurred on campus and both fondling cases were also reported to be on campus.
In 2014 there was a total of four sexual assaults reported, all considered rape and two of which were on campus.
St. Cloud State's equity and affirmative action officer, Ellyn Bartges says the appearance that the university has more sexual assaults on campus can be misleading.
"I think what is happening is we've made a concerted effort through legislation and directives going back to the spring of 2011 and implemented some new [initiatives] this year that have increased the accessibility to report."
Bartges says students can report an assault anonymously and report online as well.
St. Cloud State also has a number of resources victims can use, Bartges says these resources make reporting an incident easier which in turn can lead to more reports coming in.
"The resources we have available through the women's center, the counseling and psychological services health center, that are all on campus, that student fees pay for already, all of those factors fall into increased reporting."
Discussions on sexual assault, and sexual assault education has increased throughout the years at SCSU. Bartges says every first-year or transfer student has to enroll in a non-credit sexual assault course.
"All incoming freshmen have a respect and responsibility course they need to take, incoming new transfers as well, and that talks about sexual violence, sexual harassment, rape, and relationship and domestic violence."
Bartges is a guest speaker in many classes and she says there's two key concepts she passes on to students.
"At the end of the day, if the two things they remember from my talk is, don't leave your friends and go home with who you went with, it would make our community a lot safer."
Bartges says on a national scale about 1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault on campus before graduation.