Sexual assault on campus: The numbers

Celina Rivernider

AMHERST, Mass. — One in five women in college experience sexual assault, according to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health. For a university with a high student population, such as UMass Amherst, the total number of women who experience sexual assault can reach well into the thousands.  

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), UMass enrolled 24,209 undergraduates in 2019. About 49.9% of those students enrolled are women. 

Using data from the Office on Women’s Health, roughly 2,400 of those women will be assaulted at some point during college.


Using the seating capacity numbers on the Mullins Center website: if all those women sat in the Mullins Center at the same time, they would fill 1/4 of the entire stadium seating. 

Using data from the NCES: there are statistically more women who will be assaulted at UMass during their college years than the total undergraduate enrollment of Amherst College in 2019. 

According to the NCES, there are about 19.7 million college students in the U.S. According to the U.S. Census, roughly 54.9% of those students are women. This means there are about 11 million women enrolled in college in the U.S. 

Using data from the Office on Women’s Health, roughly 2.2 million of  all women enrolled in college in the U.S. will be sexually assaulted.

Using data from the U.S. Census: Those 2.2 million women are equal to about three times the population of Boston, and roughly a third of the entire population of Massachusetts.  

The real numbers of women who are sexually assaulted during college could be even higher.

According to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health, only 20% of women who are sexually assaulted in college will ever report it. 

According to the most recent Annual Security Report by the UMass Police Department, there were a total of 38 reports of rape in 2019. This includes reports of incidents that took place on campus, off campus, and in residence halls. 

A study done in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Justice surrounding campus sexual assaults found that the overwhelming majority of women who reported being raped said that there was one, male perpetrator. It was also found that it was most likely that the woman knew her attacker casually (i.e. friend, friend-of-a-friend.)

However, the U.S. Office on Women’s Health encourages the reporting of sexual assault, since it can create a safer campus environment by ensuring that attackers cannot harm another student. Schools are required under Title IX to help victims of assault continue their education. 

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual misconduct, the UMass Amherst Title IX Coordinator can provide support, even if a formal complaint is never filed.

As stated in the UMass Title IX Policy and Procedures, support can take the form of counseling, “academic flexibility,” changes made to housing, or other procedures that can limit the victim’s contact with their attacker. 

There are a number of resources to contact regarding sexual assault. However, these resources offered at UMass were not mentioned in the Sept. 20 email addressing the campus community from Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.

UMass Amherst Police Department: 413-525-2121

Center for Women and Community, 24hr Rape Crisis:  413-545-0800

RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)

RAINN Online Chat:

(Massachusetts) SafeLink: 1-877-785-2020

Office on Women’s Health Hotline: 1-800-994-9662

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