Reporting Sexual Assault is the First Step to Healing

Most rapists get off without prison time because reports aren’t filed

According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), two out of every 100 rapists will serve time. An average of 68 percent of sexual assaults go unreported to police, which is one reason that most rapists don’t face criminal charges.

Illustrator: Lizzie Goncharova

Illustrator: Lizzie Goncharova

According to RAINN, a recent survey of 150,000 students at 27 universities found that 11.7 percent of students reported experiencing “non consensual penetration or sexual touching by force or incapacitation” since starting college.

An average of 68 percent of sexual assaults go unreported to police, which is one reason that most rapists don’t face criminal charges.

Of the 32 reports out of 100 that do get filed, seven typically result in an arrest. Generally, law enforcement chooses not to move forward with a case for a few reasons: They may have encountered challenges proving the case due to a lack of evidence, an inability to identify the perpetrator, or other factors.

According to the University of Minnesota’s administrative procedure on sexual assault, any University employee who has been sexual assaulted should contact the police department right away. Timely reporting and a medical examination within 120 hours is critical in getting evidence of a sexual assault.

A victim can report a situation of sexual violence to the Aurora Center on campus. When it comes to actually reporting sexual assault, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) investigates these reports.

According to Kim Hewitt, the director of the EOAA, the office sets up a meeting with the reporter, listens to their story, and checks any footage, text messages, or emails. The EOAA writes a report and sends it to the student conduct office who then decides what the next step should be.

When it comes to actually reporting sexual assault, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) investigates these reports.

Many perpetrators of sexual assault tend to be repeat offenders. When a victim reports a sexual assault or abuse, they are increasing the chances that the one responsible will face consequences for the crime.

About two-thirds of victims actually know the perpetrator, so it can be unnerving for them to actually report them to police.

“Many people report and decide they don’t want to go through with the investigation process,” Hewitt said. “It takes a lot of courage.”

Filing a report isn’t easy, but it’s first step to justice, and perhaps further peace for the victim.