Campus Crime 

TBI findings show a decrease in sexual assault

Though campus crime as a whole saw a slight uptick in 2016, less than one percent, one area of campus crime has seen a considerable decrease.

For the first time since 2012, cases of sexual assaults reported on college campuses have decreased, according to the latest numbers released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).

click to enlarge flyby_crimestats.jpg

In 2016, there were 45 reported forcible rapes on campuses statewide. That number is down from 62 in 2015, a 27.4 percent decline. The total category for forcible sex offenses, which includes forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling, decreased by 26.5 percent.

While numbers have decreased statewide, two colleges in Memphis — Rhodes College and the University of Memphis — still feel there is work to be done, not only in the way assaults are reported, but also in creating a culture of consent on college campuses.

Both universities had the same number of reported sexual offenses last year — 13. Assaults at U of M occurred both on and off campus, while all sexual assaults occurred exclusively on campus at Rhodes.

Although the U of M has about 18,000 more students than Rhodes, it's important to note that Rhodes is almost exclusively a residential college, whereas only 10 percent of U of M's students live on campus.

Because of differentiating factors like residential versus commuter colleges, officials with TBI urge citizens not to compare institutions directly to one another.

"We want citizens to keep in mind that the factors impacting crime typically vary from community to community," said Leslie Earhart, a public information officer with TBI.

Some of those factors to consider: the accessibility of reporting sexual assault and the surrounding environment that encourages it.

Both universities have options for anonymous reporting, and both universities have awareness campaigns planned for the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Bruce Harber, U of M's Chief Operations Officer, said the school will continue to push for education around consent — the idea that when someone says "no" to any type of sexual advance, it literally means you do not touch the person.

Lynn Conlee, interim communications director for Rhodes, said that the school is seeking to become "a national leader among residential, liberal art colleges in our ongoing approach to student safety."

Conlee said the college has taken several proactive measures recently, including hiring a full-time Title IX coordinator who will handle all cases of sexual assault and gender discrimination.

Student websites at Rhodes feature a button on each page that allows the student instant and anonymous reporting of any assault, whether they are victim or a witness.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

    • Creative Process

      Memphis Brooks Museum of Art leader talks about the decision to consider leaving Overton Park.
    • Fun Money

      Locals, tourists invest in good times here.


News Blog

Supreme Court Steps In on Fayette Church Matter

Intermission Impossible

Muhammad Ali Meets Stepin Fetchit at The Hattiloo Theatre

News Blog

Task Force Considers Medical Cannabis

News Blog

Trolleys Return to the Tracks for Testing

Music Blog

Jessi Zazu: In Memoriam

Beyond the Arc

Deflections: The Roster, TV Angst, and The Buy/Sell Clause

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

The Vietnam War

We Saw You

Cooper-Young Fest, Big Bugs, Art of Caring

Music Blog

Linda Heck: Bound to ExCITM tonight

Intermission Impossible

A Memory of Charles Billings


More by Micaela Watts

Readers also liked…

© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation