On November 25, 1985, the Project on the Status and Education of Women (PSEW) of the Association of American Colleges, released a well documented report about the common occurrence of gang rape on college campuses across the nation.
The report documented more than 50 incidents of campus rape across the country. According to the report, gang rape has occurred at large state universities, well-known liberal arts schools, religious schools, and Ivy league institutions. The majority of attacks have occurred at schools that have fraternities; some incidents occurred in residence halls and a number involved college athletes. Attacks have included from two to 11 or more men. Of the 50 or so instances studied, no criminal charges have resulted.
The severity and scope of the problem is confirmed by another study published last fall in Ms. Magazine which explored a similar phenomenon called “date rape.” It revealed that one quarter of women in college today have been the victims of rape or attempted rape, and almost 90 percent of them knew their assailants.
A recent news article (2/7/86) about a campus gang rape at San Diego State University last fall, reported that at least 30 members of its Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity watched and did nothing to stop the alleged assault of a woman during a fraternity party. Consequently, the university “kicked” the fraternity off campus and threatened “expulsion” measures for the 30 identified onlookers of the crime. Reportedly, the San Diego County district attorney declined to file rape charges in the case because of insufficient evidence.
In reporting campus rapes, the media tend to present and treat them as isolated instances which occur occasionally on some college campuses. This new information about the widespread and ongoing incidents of “campus gang rape” on a nationwide basis challenges that concept. Campus gang rape is a frightening phenomenon confronting our nation’s colleges and the public should know about it so that appropriate action can be taken to stop it.
AAC, A PUBLICATION OF THE PROJECT ON THE STATUS ANB EBUCATION OF WOMEN, November 1985, “Campus Gang Rape: Party Games?”, by Julie K. Ehrhart and Bernice R. Sandler, 20 pp; WASHINGTON POST, 12/20/85, “Campus Gang-Rape Report,” by Judy Mann; SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, 2/7/86, “San Diego State frat banned over alleged sexual assault.”