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Eno Chen / Staff Designer

About 20 percent of Barnard students reported that they had experienced sexual assault in some form over the past 12 months, according to results from Barnard's 2016 campus climate survey.

The survey, which has been conducted annually since 2012 under the supervision of Associate Dean for Equity and Title IX Coordinator Amy Zavadil, gathers student feedback on awareness and experience on issues of sexual violence, discrimination, and harassment. Results from the survey are then used to fuel future education and responses to issues of sexual assault.

While the most recent survey had a smaller number of respondents than the survey conducted in 2015—534 and 595, respectively—the percentage of students who reported experiencing sexual assault is a three percent increase from the 2015 survey's results. Compared to the survey released in 2014, which had a larger sample size of 892 students, the percentage is exactly the same.

Of the students who reported experiencing some form of sexual assault in the 2016 survey, 41 percent indicated that the perpetrator was a member of the Barnard or Columbia community—a two percent decrease from last year.

69 percent of respondents said that they knew someone who had been sexually assaulted, which is a one percent decrease from last year. The report also specifically highlighted differences based on identity, indicating that 83 percent of students who identified as non-heterosexual and 52 percent of Asian or Asian-American students reported knowing someone who was sexually assaulted.

In addition to experiences of sexual assault, the 2016 survey indicated that 18 percent of respondents had experienced unwelcome sexual comments, jokes, gestures, or looks—a two percent decrease from 2015.

About 53 percent of students in 2014 said that they were familiar with the Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center. In 2016, the percentage of students aware of this resource dropped to 49 percent, despite the implementation of Columbia's Step Up! sexual assault and bystander training program in the 2014-2015 academic year.

The number of students who indicated that they would file an official report with Barnard in response to a form of sexual assault has remained steadily high over the past three years: 95 percent in 2014, 92 percent in 2015, and 93 percent in 2016.

Yet, only 40 percent of students said that they would be comfortable helping a fellow student find resources and information concerning the sexual assault, according to the 2016 survey.

Barnard currently only mandates one sexual assault and bystander training program for its students during the New Student Orientation Program. The college has created an education and awareness campaign, Being Barnard, which is dedicated to educating students on issues of wellness, relationships, intervention, violence education, social identities, and social power through various events and workshops. However, this program is not mandatory for students.

“Clearly, the potential adverse impact of such experiences warrants our continued attention and dedication to increasing awareness, developing and enhancing prevention efforts, and making support resources available to members of our community,” the survey stated.

jodi.lessner@columbiaspectator.com | @ColumbiaSpec

barnard campus climate survey sexual assault
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