So far in 2012, there have been eight rapes reported at the University of Georgia. And national trends find there is often a spike at the beginning of the school year each fall.
Nationally, 50 percent of sexual assaults on campus involve alcohol. The University of Georgia's Police Chief Jimmy Williamson says that is a big problem on campus.
“We have alcohol consumption at a level that we’ve never seen. Alcohol has always been consumed in higher ed, but we are seeing larger amounts drank than we’ve ever drank.” he says.
Jennifer Graham, coordinator of the Women’s Center at Georgia College in Milledgeville says the greatest risk appears to be when students first come to college and are away from home for the first time.
She says “Nationally we do see an increased likelihood of sexual assaults occurring during typically the first six to ten weeks of the school year.”
Graham says there is often uncertainty about what is consent.
“And I think that is a really big piece of the puzzle that needs to be looked at. When folks are unclear about what is consent, then that leads to questions. Then folks are just making assumptions on what other people want to do and that’s never a good idea.” she says.
She says Georgia College has a program to educate students about consent
Williamson says parents need to have frank conversations with their daughters and sons about sexual safety and respect.
He says “Typically where men learn the most about sex is from the internet. And the sites that we know are not reality.”
He says 80 percent of sexual assault cases involve people who know each other. And he’s concerned that there may be more cases out there that are never reported.