GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The University of Florida wanted to figure out gaps in services for victims of sexual assault, so they surveyed thousands of their students at random. After months of waiting, the results are in, and they are startling: about 20 percent of undergraduate UF women said they have experienced some form of sexual assault.
“It’s really uncomfortable," said Megan Young, a senior at UF. "I actually know someone here who had to deal with that.” Young did not take the survey, but the issue of sexual assault strikes a chord “I know that really hit hard for her,” Young said “It’s definitely a problem that needs to be addressed.” Adriana Ojeda, a graduate student at UF, said, “Honestly, I could see that, because from my own personal experiences and from experiences from my friends. I know that’s a very common problem.”
Back in April, the university voluntarily gave the survey to 12,000 students, after several attempted assaults in Fall 2014. Twenty-five other universities took part. UF said the results are lower than the national average, but are still concerning. The survey also found about 18 percent of non-heterosexual students UF students have experienced sexual assault. The survey said 5 percent of male undergrads reported experiencing some type of sexual assault. Levi Randolph, a UF sophomore, said “That’s not good. I feel really, really sorry for that 5 percent.”
The survey said more than two-thirds of students believed that a report of sexual assault or sexual misconduct would be taken seriously by campus officials and 60 percent said it was very or extremely likely that the safety of those reporting it would be protected by the university. The university says it will use the survey results to further develop programs that educate students about inappropriate behavior, available resources and ways to report it.
“It’s good that they’re saying they want to help out, instead of keeping silent about what’s going on," said UF junior Wendy Pioquinto, "so, I think it’s a good step forward.”
The university also said before these results came out, they have already required new students to take a mandatory online sexual violence course.