Reports of sexual assaults at Boston colleges increase overall

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Simmons and COF schools’ reports stay low

By Sarah Kinney
Staff Writer

This week, a Boston Globe review of Boston-area colleges shows that reports of sexual assaults are on the rise.

Despite an increase in reports, campus safety experts see this as better reporting and not necessarily an increase in assaults.

“When we see sexual assault numbers increase, that hopefully means the barriers to reporting are finally beginning to be addressed, which means you are beginning the steps to solve the problem,” said S. Daniel Carter, director of the 32 National Campus Safety Initiative who has spent more than two decades studying campus safety, to the Globe.

In a study funded by the Department of Justice, it is estimated that about 12 percent of actual rapes are reported.

The institutions the Globe story highlighted were much larger than Simmons, and co-ed.

Harvard University has consistantly reported more sexual assaults per enrolled students than any other campus in the Boston area. In 2012, 38 cases were reported, up from 19 in 2008.

At Simmons, reports have gone down, from two rapes reported in 2010 to one in both 2011 and 2012. There was one sexual assault in 2010. Though with reports so few, the decrease is not statistically significant.

At Colleges of the Fenway institutions, the reports are similar to Simmons and much lower than those of Harvard, UMass, and Northeastern.

At Emmanuel, there were two reports of sexual assault, one in 2012 and one in 2010. Both were formally reported.

At Wheelock there was one reported offense in 2011.

Wentworth had one non-forcible sex offense reported in 2010 and one forcible offense in 2012.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design reported one forcible sex offense in 2010, three in 2011, and two in 2012.

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Boston campus had no reports of sexual violence in the last three years.

Simmons students can report any type of crime to Public Safety by calling 911 or 617-521-1111 for emergencies and 617-521-1112 for non-emergencies.

According to the Simmons College Clery Report, “If you are the victim of a crime and do not want to pursue action within the College system or the criminal justice system, you may still want to consider making a confidential report. With your permission, a Public Safety officer can file a report on the details of the incident without revealing your identity (except to the Title IX Coordinator in the event of a reported sex offense or sexual harassment). The purpose of a confidential report is to comply with your wish to keep the matter confidential, while taking steps to enhance the future safety of yourself and others.”

Simmons also has pastoral and professional counselors available to help survivors of violence.

Data on campus crime statistics come from individual schools’ Clery Report, a federally mandated document that discloses crime and fire statistics, inspired by the rape and murder of Jeanne Clery.