While Suffolk County and New York state as a whole saw drops in reported rape in 2012, Stony Brook saw a rise in reported sexual assault. According to a report released by police, there were 17 forcible sexual offenses in 2012—five more than in 2011 and 10 more than in 2010. There were no reported non-forcible sexual offenses.
New York State reported 304 cases of rape in 2012, down from 322 in 2010 and drastically lower than the 407 in 2003. Suffolk County’s rape statistics saw a similar trend as the rest of New York State with 41 reported rapes in 2012, 55 in 2010 and 112 in 2003.
Stony Brook’s jump in stats is much more drastic than the increase seen at SUNY Albany which reported 10 forcible sexual offenses in 2012, seven in 2011 and eight in 2010.
Patrick Kim, a junior majoring in biology, calls the increase in sexual assault alarming because it is a serious issue but not surprising. “Actually, I have witnessed sexual assault,” he said. Kim described a party scene that wasn’t violent but there “was no consent per se say.” The incident, like many, went unreported. “People don’t take it seriously a lot of the time,” he said.
Rape, which has a reputation of being violent or involving drugs and people unknown to the victim, can come in all forms. At its most basic, rape is nonconsensual sex. It can happen between two people who know each other. Actually, according to a 2004 Bureau of Justice crime report, 54 percent of the time, the victim knows the rapist.
Diana Tavares, a senior majoring in psychology, did not feel that 17 was that large of a number for a school with over 16,000 students. The number seems even smaller when statistics show that one in five college women are sexual assault victims. Still, she said she would not hesitate to call police if anything did happen. “I feel some people would probably not, like if it was someone they knew or they felt threatened by the person,” she said.
Statistics from the same Bureau of Justice report show that about half the time rape is not reported and sexual assault is not reported about 50 percent of the time.
The Center for Prevention and Outreach at Stony Brook pointed out that transgender females are the largest group of victims of sexual assault. However, it is often unreported because of concerns regarding how welcoming the facility would be. The Center for Prevention and Outreach, which is there to help, can be found in the Student Union in room 216.