AAU sexual assault student survey results released


Last year, under the guidance of the Sexual Assault Task Force (SATF), Brown agreed to participate in a sexual assault student survey organized by the Association of American Universities (AAU). Across the country, 27 Universities participated in this survey. Today, the results of the AAU survey were released.  President Christina Paxson P’19 sent out a campus-wide email this morning to announce the release of both the general and Brown specific survey results. In her email, Paxson writes that these results will be used to assess the current climate of sexual assault at Brown and create data-driven initiatives that seek to make Brown a “safe and inclusive campus.”

The survey’s results show high rates of assault among survey participants. The survey found that 25% of Brown undergraduate women and 6.8% of undergraduate men who participated in the survey experienced “either unwanted sexual touching or attempted or completed penetration due to physical force or incapacitation.” Among senior participants, these numbers jump to 33% of Brown women and 8% of Brown men.

In Paxson’s email, she notes that rates of sexual assault reported by those who identify as TGQN (trans, genderqueer, questioning, or nonconforming) “were similar to those for undergraduate women.”

Perhaps most noteworthy is that 60.5% of students who had reported sexual assault by force on their survey, did not approach the University about the incident. Further, “an estimated 70.5% of those who did not report they had been victimized thought the incident was not serious enough to report, and 47.9% thought that a report would not be taken seriously.”

Paxson’s email mentions two opportunities to continue these important discussions:

  • This Wednesday, September 23rd, UCS will be holding an Open Forum on Title IX at Brown from  7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Metcalf Auditorium.
  • The survey results will be presented at the next Brown University Community Council (BUCC) meeting on Tuesday, September 29, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Kasper Multipurpose Room in Faunce.

Paxson closes her email by encouraging all students to be actively aware of the high prevalence of sexual assault on our campus and to be committed to “cultivat[ing] a culture at Brown in which sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence and stalking are not tolerated.”

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A summary of today’s e-mail from President Paxson on sexual assault


This afternoon, President Paxson addressed all members of the Brown Community regarding the recent national and Brown-related conversation on sexual assault.

The White House Task  Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, formed in January 2014, just released “Not Alone.”  President Paxson announced that Brown will benefit from the report and its associated guidelines in the planned review of the University’s policies and procedures related to sexual assault. In an email sent last week on sexual assault at Brown, President Paxson announced that the review, which was already planned for the coming academic year, will be accelerated. In the most recent communication from President Paxson, she elaborated on the University’s plans and presented a timeline for addressing the issue the sexual assault on campus:

Step 1: External Consultation (Summer 2014) 

As the first step in the review, this summer Brown will bring in  consultants working nationally on campus sexual assault to assess “current policies, procedures, and programs and provide us with information on prevention, student support, and discipline, and alignment of our policies with recently issued federal guidelines.”

Step 2: Formation of the Brown University Task Force on Sexual Assault (Fall 2014)

The second step will begin in fall 2014 with the creation of the Brown University Task Force on Sexual Assault.  The Task Force will be composed of faculty, administrators, undergraduate, graduate, and medical students. It will be co-chaired by Dr. Michele Cyr, specialist in women’s health, professor of medicine, and associate dean for academic affairs at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine, and Russell Carey, currently executive vice president for policy and planning at Brown. Student representatives will be chosen by UCS, Graduate School Council, and the Medical Student Senate to be a part of the Task Force. They will be announced in September. Recommendations will be due no later than December 2014.

Immediate Plans:

However, the University does not intend to stall action until the arrival of external consultants and the appointment of the Task Force. Three suggestions, informed by the White House guidelines, will be accepted immediately: the hiring of a single full-time Title IX coordinator, providing additional resources to students through education around sexual assault, and creating a campus climate survey to measure the incidence of sexual violence and student perceptions about assault.

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VDAY – Any One of Us: Words from Prison

Location: Smitty B 106

Cost: Public admission is $10 (at the door or at arttixri.com). All proceeds are donated to Open Doors, an agency working directly with women who are transitioning back into the community after being incarcerated. E-mail catherine.e.mccarthy (at) gmail (dot) com for a student discount price of $5, or show your Brown ID at the door for the same price.

More than 90% of women in prison have experienced violence in their own lives. Presented as part of the Until The Violence Stops: Rhode Island Festival, this event will bring forth raw voices of fierceness and honesty written by women from Rhode Island prisons who are moving forward toward healing, understanding, and change, ultimately impacting laws and treatment of incarcerated women. For the first time Rhode Island women who are presently incarcerated and have themselves experienced violence are being invited to tell their own stories through their words. These writings will be performed during the March 11, 2010 production, and the performance will conclude with a panel discussion about issues affecting women in prison. For more information, please visit www.vdayri.com.

Hosted by: Sexual Assault Task Force, AXO, Coalition Against Relationship Abuse