Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Editor’s note: Examining the issue of sexual assault on college campuses

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(Randy Crandon/Daily Collegian)

Sexual assault is an issue that plagues universities across the United States, and the University of Massachusetts is no exception.

Students of all genders, races and sexualities are deeply impacted by this subject on campuses today. Overall, it’s estimated that one in five women and one in 16 men are raped while in college, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Furthermore, it was reported that 46.4 percent of lesbians, 74.9 percent of bisexual women, 40.2 percent of gay men and 47.4 percent of bisexual men reported sexual assault during their lifetimes.

In just over the last year, five individuals have stood trial in connection to two separate instances of rape of two former UMass students in 2012 and 2013. Adam Liccardi, Caleb Womack, Justin King and Emmanuel Bile Jr. all were found guilty for an October 2012 gang rape in Pierpont Residential Hall, while former UMass student Patrick Durocher was sentenced to three to five years in prison in February for the 2013 rape and assault of a fellow student on the Campus Center lawn.

For these reasons, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian has devoted today’s edition to discussing this difficult topic of sexual assault at UMass and college campuses nationwide in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Today’s special issue aims to bring this local and national problem to the forefront of coverage to highlight the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.

Many incidents of sexual violence go unreported for a myriad of reasons. Survivors may choose not to report, may not be aware of the resources available, or may not feel safe reporting at school, to name a few. It’s important to recognize that no two survivor narratives are the same.

This edition includes profiles on numerous organizations dedicated to providing support networks and working for survivors’ rights, and the University’s response to its ongoing Title IX investigations and handling of sexual assault cases. It also includes an interview with the authors of “We Believe You” – a book highlighting the experiences of more than 30 survivors who have come forward – and the impact statement submitted by the survivor who was assaulted by Durocher.

Many UMass students have direct or indirect experiences with sexual assault. We hope today’s issue will provide our readers crucial information that draws attention to the pressing matter of sexual violence on both our campus and college campuses across the country.

Mark Chiarelli is the Collegian Editor in Chief and can be reached at [email protected] Anthony Chiusano is the Managing Editor and can be reached at [email protected]

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