Nearly two-thirds of college students across the country experience sexual harassment according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Under New York’s “Enough is Enough” law, all colleges and universities in New York must collect and report all data on sexual assault, stalking and violence complaints made by students.
For the first five months of 2018, close to 2,000 sexual assault and stalking complaints were made at college campuses across New York.
Cornell, University at Albany, SUNY Buffalo, and SUNY Plattsburgh all ranked at the top of the list.
While part of this has to do with the student population, some universities also point out that students now feel more comfortable in coming forward.
“This happens at every campus. The differences are that some students feel that there is a place for them that they can talk about it. And they have more trust in the institution because it takes a lot of trust,” Carol Stenger, the Director of the Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence at SUNY Albany, said.
In recent years, school campuses have been trying to build up their resources so when a sexual assault does occur, students can have support and know their rights. The University at Albany is the first SUNY school to have an Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence on their campus.
“Set this office up to be very warm, they have a cup of tea in a real mug they can hold. We tell them all their rights and resources locally. We take students to the hospital if they choose to get a forensic rape exam.”
Also, with the MeToo movement emboldening young people across the country, Stenger says she sees this at the SUNY Albany campus as well.
“Sometimes a student will say something recent brought me here now and in a couple cases its been something related to the MeToo movement and that made them think differently about their own experience and want to come forward.”
Although not all colleges have Advocacy Centers, students should still report any threats or sexual violence to the Title IX offices at their school or law enforcement.