Sexual violence awareness survey

Second round of surveys track student knowledge of sexual violence resources on and off campus.

Jackie Bussjaeger, Editor-in-Chief

Pipers may be having a sense of deja vu lately when they check their inboxes—there’s a reason that the “Knowledge of Sexual Violence Policies and Incidents” looks familiar. Around this time last year, juniors Brynna Morgan and Elena Anderson, with the help of women’s studies professor Kristin Mapel Bloomberg, created the survey as a collaborative research project to assess the occurrences of sexual violence on campus and student awareness of campus resources related to sexual violence. Roughly a fourth of Hamline students participated in this survey, and the three collaborators are distributing it once again in 2015 to obtain comparative results.

The current survey is nearly identical to the first, with a few additional questions and some edits for fine-tuning, according to Anderson. The additional data collected by this survey is meant to gather even more information to track change, compare and add to the body of information collected last year.

“Before the survey, the only available data to students [about occurrences of sexual violence] was the Clery Act, which reported no sexual assaults, or at least a very small number, which we knew anecdotally wasn’t true,” Morgan said. “So the survey is looking to inform policy decisions as well as educational efforts, and really just inform students of what’s actually going on here, because the lack of transparency before the survey was kind of unnerving.”

The Clery Act is a federal statute that requires universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to report all incidents of on-campus crime (including sexual assault). This information appears in the safety report published annually by Safety and Security. However, the data gathered by offices on Hamline’s campus is problematic, because many instances of sexual assault happen off-campus, and many cases of rape and sexual violence are not reported by survivors at all.

“I think that things that happen between students off-campus and members of the community are still very important knowledge to have and they still impact the environment of the school,” Anderson said.

Last year’s survey revealed that out of all the incidents of sexual violence on campus, only seven percent were reported to Hamline. Of the 25 percent who indicated that they were survivors of assault, 33 percent said that the assault occurred while at Hamline.This number is statistically similar to the national standard, which reports that on average, a quarter of college and university students have experienced sexual assault. Of the incidences that occurred at Hamline, just over half happened off-campus—suggesting that the Clery data is missing a large portion of the actual rates of sexual violence experienced by students.Survivors of all genders were assaulted most often by males, and almost always by acquaintances, romantic partners and other peers.

“It’s not the narrative of ‘stranger in the bushes,’” Morgan said. Mapel Bloomberg agreed, explaining that the misconceptions about sexual violence sometimes make it seem as though it isn’t really as prevalent as statistics show.

“In my experience, there tends to be a narrative created at Hamline that stuff like that doesn’t happen here,” Mapel Bloomberg said. “This shows that it does, and that we’re very typical, in terms of how this happens—that it tends to be peers, and sadly, that first-year students are particularly vulnerable.”

Morgan, Anderson and Mapel Bloomberg released the results of the first survey during the fall 2014 semester, when they met with many campus offices and administrators to explain the implications of the survey and methods for assisting students in situations of sexual violence.

“That’s what our reasoning is why we want to continue to spread this data, because we think Hamline has the potential to be better than the national standard,” Anderson said. “We are not doing this to be antagonistic towards our university; we actually have a lot of faith in our university and respect for the community of our university, and think that it has the capability to be better than national standards, and to excel above that.”

Morgan and Anderson have been promoting the survey through the Student Affairs office, as well as through word of mouth and collaboration with professors, who often forward it to their classes. According to Mapel Bloomberg, the survey itself acts as a tool to educate students about the steps to take and campus resources to use in instances of sexual violence or harassment.

“We’re using this as an education tool—getting the word out to various groups on campus about the realities of the environment here,” Mapel Bloomberg said. “Again, we’re pretty typical compared to our national peers, and our goal is to be atypical. So we have to be armed with ‘what is the reality?’ and have a good sense of what’s going on the reality, so that we can change it to something better.”

Morgan, Anderson and Mapel Bloomberg plan to continue this research and distribute the survey again next year, hoping to see Hamline’s occurrences of sexual violence decrease and knowledge of on-campus resources increase.The complete results from last year’s survey can be viewed at, and the researchers stated that the preliminary results of the second survey will most likely be released during the last week of classes. A larger version will be available in the fall. The current survey is still open and can be found at

Here are a few hints—after all, the survey is an assessment of your knowledge. On-campus resources for sexual assault include the office of Title IX Coordinator Patti Klein, the office of Dean of Students Alan Sickbert, the Women’s Resource Center directed by Professor Kathy Burleson and the office of Safety and Security.