In the US, the start of the academic year is called the “red zone”, as more than 50% of sexual assaults are said to occur between August and November. These assaults are under-reported and, until recently, have not always been properly investigated. Criminal prosecutions of rape and sexual assault cases occurring on campus are rare and universities have been accused of protecting those accused of sexual assault, including athletes.
There has been a marked increase in the number of reported incidents of sexual assaults or misconduct made by students. BBC File on Four (17 September 2019) asked 115 universities the number of complaints they received. 80 universities replied. The combined number of complaints was more than 700 last year. According to Channel Four, incidents reported went from 65 in 2014 to 626 in 2018, an 85% increase. 165 allegations of rape or sexual assault have been reported by students at one university alone in the last three years. This trend reflects an increased willingness to report incidents – although many are never reported – and an increased willingness to investigate them.