Statistics Canada says the national gross domestic product fell 11.6 per cent in April, in a June 30, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Statistics Canada says the national gross domestic product fell 11.6 per cent in April, in a June 30, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

1 in 10 female post-secondary students sexually assaulted in school setting: study

Seventy-one per cent of post-secondary students said they witnessed or experienced unwanted sexualized behaviours

A new study says more Canadian university and college students who identify as women were sexually assaulted in a post-secondary setting over a year than those who identify as men, with the majority of sexual assaults perpetrated by other students.

Data released today by Statistics Canada show 11 per cent of students who identify as women were sexually assaulted in a college or university setting in the year before the survey, compared with four per cent of those who identify as men.

The study says sexual assaults in the post-secondary setting during that period most often took the form of unwanted sexual touching, which accounted for 86 per cent of incidents for women and 83 per cent for men.

It says other students were behind the sexual assaults in similar proportions for women and men — 60 per cent and 61 per cent, respectively.

The data show students also carried out the majority of other unwanted sexualized behaviours such as catcalls and unwelcome physical contact, with 80 per cent of women and 86 per cent of men who experienced such behaviours saying their peers were behind the incidents.

The study says relatively few students reported that a person in a position of authority, such as a professor, engaged in such conduct, but it was more common for women who had experienced unwanted sexualized behaviours than men.

The study notes that while the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a shift to online learning over in-person classes, the data provide “important insight” for schools on how to better prevent and address such behaviours in post-secondary institutions.

“People who experience unwanted sexualized behaviours can feel disrespected, uncomfortable and unsafe, and this type of victimization can have immediate and long-term impacts on well-being and mental health,” the study says.

Seventy-one per cent of post-secondary students said they witnessed or experienced unwanted sexualized behaviours involving students or other people associated with the school either on or off campus or online, though more women were on the receiving end than men.

Forty-five per cent of women reported personally experiencing such behaviours, which include inappropriate communications and suggested sexual relations, compared with 32 per cent of men, according to the survey.

Women were more likely than men to view unwanted sexualized behaviours as offensive, though some, such as taking or posting inappropriate photos of any student without consent, were seen as offensive by large proportions of both women and men.

Forty per cent of male students agreed or strongly agreed that “people get too offended by sexual comments, jokes or gestures,” nearly double the proportion of female students who shared that view, the study showed.

More than half of women and just over 40 per cent of men said they had intervened at least once when witnessing unwanted sexual behaviours, though more than 90 per cent overall said there was at least one instance where they did not step in.

Women were more likely to report that they didn’t intervene because they felt uncomfortable, with 48 per cent citing that reason compared with 25 per cent of men.

More women also said they feared negative consequences — 28 per cent compared with 18 per cent of men — or were worried for their safety — 18 per cent compared with eight per cent of men.

More women who experienced unwanted sexual behaviours in a college or university setting also reported they felt fearful as a result, with 23 per cent of women and four per cent of men saying that was the case.

But few students who experienced unwanted sexual behaviours or were sexually assaulted said they discussed it with someone associated with the school.

Nine per cent of women and four per cent of men who experienced unwanted sexual behaviours said they disclosed what happened to someone at the school; eight per cent of women and six per cent of men who were sexually assaulted did so, the study says.

Three per cent of women who were sexually assaulted in a college or university setting said they reported an incident to police.

While the survey found most students expressed positive views about their school’s policies and procedures on sexual assaults and unwanted sexual behaviours, students who had experienced those things generally had more negative opinions on school policies than those who hadn’t.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

sexual assault

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Manluk Centre: Wetaskiwin Regional Aquatics and Fitness will be closed to the public until further notice beginning May 10, 2021. Image/ City of Wetaskiwin.
Manluk Centre to close following new provincial restrictions

The Manluk Centre will be closed to the public until further notice beginning May 10, 2021.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Kenney to announce plan for truckers to get COVID-19 vaccinations in nearby states

Alberta is approaching 25,000 active cases of COVID-19, and there are more than 600 people in hospital with the illness

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to limit travel throughout the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports additional 2,211 COVID-19 cases

Photo (STAR Catholic Logo)
STAR Catholic School Division declines running pilot on K-6 draft curriculum

The Catholic school board conducted an in-depth analysis of the Education Alberta’s draft curriculum

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
County and City of Wetaskiwin COVID-19 cases continue to decline as provincial numbers rise

The County of Wetaskiwin currently has 52 active cases, the City of Wetaskiwin has 73 active cases.

Red dresses hang from trees in a Wetaskiwin park for MMIW awareness. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Red dresses hang in Wetaskiwin for MMIW awareness

Red dresses hang in various locations across Wetaskiwin for National Red Dress… Continue reading

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The postponement of the event was put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Big truck semi trailer moves on the highway towards sunset
Alberta’s cross-border truckers to be vaccinated at Montana rest stop

2,000 Alberta truck drivers who transport goods across the border will be able to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Montana

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hospital investigating whether Alberta woman who died after AstraZeneca shot was turned away

Woman was taken off life support 12 days after getting vaccine

Two passengers were recently fined thousands of dollars after they faked their pre-flight COVID-19 test results. (Paul Clarke/Black Press)
2 passengers in Canada fined thousands for faking pre-flight COVID-19 tests

The government issued a warning Thursday to others thinking of doing the same – do it and you’ll be ordered to pay

A wild rabbit grazes in Nanaimo, B.C. in this Feb.2, 2018 photo. Rabbit owners in Alberta are being warned about a deadly virus that was identified in a southern Alberta household last month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner
‘Like a flash fire:’ Rabbit owners warned about outbreak of deadly disease in Alberta

The disease is confined to rabbits and cannot spread to humans

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

Most Read