Nearly one third of the female undergraduate student population at Georgetown have reported experiencing non-consensual sexual contact, according to the Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey released June 16.
According to the survey, which took place in January 2016, 31 percent of respondents have experienced the non-consensual sexual contact as a result of physical force or incapacitation, ranging from unwanted sexual touching to unwanted penetration.
Almost half of all respondents reported having experienced sexual harassment since entering Georgetown, with female undergraduates reporting the highest rate of such harassment at 75 percent.
In a campus-wide email announcing the results of the survey, University President John DeGioia expressed concern and called for immediate action.
“The survey findings underscore an urgent and critical need to continue to address sexual assault and misconduct and provide us the information we need to better target and focus our work,” he wrote. “Some of the action we take will be immediate, beginning in the coming days and weeks. Some action will require ongoing, sustained effort. All actions that we take will require the active engagement of our entire community.”
As a result of the findings, DeGioia also announced the creation of a new Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Task Force, comprised of students, faculty, and staff as well as the implementation of focus groups that will meet beginning Fall 2016 to discuss the issues surround sexual assault and misconduct.
Additionally, annual trainings will be required for all students and a resource awareness campaign will take place focusing on sexual assault and misconduct, bystander intervention, survivor support, and substance abuse.
The survey indicates that only about 20 percent of students believe that they are “very” or “extremely” knowledgeable about how the University defines sexual assault and sexual misconduct.
The Association of American Universities (AAU) developed the survey that Georgetown administered. In a September 2015 AAU survey of 27 universities, 23 percent of female undergraduate respondents reported incidences of sexual assault and sexual misconduct, 8 percent lower than the number reported in Georgetown’s survey.
DeGioia wrote in his email, “This is a moment that demands our very best—that asks each of us to engage in difficult and critical conversations with openness and honesty, to take responsibility in creating a culture that does not tolerate sexual assault and misconduct.”
A full story on the results of the survey as well as reaction from students and administrators will be published as more information becomes available.