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Survey: BYU Students Crave Better Education About Sexual Assault Resources

Photo of a sign that says Brigham Young University on the university's campus
istock / Wolterk

Students at Brigham Young University want to see more education about sexual assault and resources available to victims, according to results from a campus survey about sexual assault released Thursday.

The survey was sent out to students in the spring. Forty-three percent — more than 12,000 students — responded to it.

Most said they didn’t know or wouldn’t know where to go if they or a friend experienced sexual assault.

“Even though we have a new victim advocate, for example, and an amnesty policy, students were not aware of many of these things,” said Ben Ogles, Dean of BYU’s College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. Ogles also chaired the committee that put out the survey.

The uncertainty of what to do after an assault is reflected in BYU’s dismal reporting rates. The survey showed that after experiencing unwanted sexual contact, only three percent of victims contacted police, the school’s Title IX office or a crisis line in the previous year.

Nearly two thirds of victims did not report to law enforcement, the school, or church leaders at all.  

“Reporting is the main thing we need to try and get people to do,” said Ogles. “First, because how can we help someone we don’t know about? We cannot provide them resources if we don’t know about it,” he said.

There are resources available, but again, Ogles says it appears students don’t know where to find them. He says helping students learn where to go is a top priority going forward.

An open question in the survey asked students what they think could be done to make BYU safer.

“The number one recommendation was (for the university) to do more education and training” about sexual assault and things like consent, said Ogles.  

“Students are eager to help and want to make BYU a better place, and we can take advantage of that as we start to work on this issue,” he said.

Ogle’s committee plans to send the survey out again in two or three years. He hopes by then more students are aware of resources available to them.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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