UConn says sex-assault survey shows students feel safe

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STORRS — UConn officials have released the results of a survey designed to measure the problem of sexual violence on its campuses and say it shows their students feel safe.

The anonymous survey of 6,000 random students was administered in November 2015 by the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium. About 1,500 students from Storrs and the regional campuses responded.

The school says 5.5 percent of those responding said they have been the victim of a sexual assault. Eighty-two percent of respondents said they feel safe and 77 percent indicated they know what sexual assault is and how to recognize it.

Last year, UConn reported that its most recent data showed that there were 85 sexual assaults on campus in 2014. That was a significant uptick from 2013, but UConn says that was mostly due to improved efforts at information collecting.

Officials say they are concerned that only 55 percent of respondents say they know how to report an incident of sexual assault or know the confidential resources available to sexual assault victims.

In 2015, Gov. Dan Malloy signed a law requiring sexual assault forensic examinations be made available on UConn’s main Storrs campus. Previously, students had to drive eight miles to Windham Hospital for an exam, making it less likely that students would go for the exam at all.

A bill is currently moving through the state Legislature to create an affirmative consent, or “yes means yes” bill. That would mean a person would have to say that he or she was comfortable with having sex. According to the bill going through the Legislature, “Affirmative consent” means “an active, clear and voluntary agreement by a person to engage in sexual activity with another person that is sustained throughout the sexual activity and may be revoked at any time by any such person.”

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