Forcible sexual assaults on the Stanford University campus more than doubled and rose from 10 in 2009 to 21 in 2010, according to Stanford's new 2011 Safety, Security & Fire Report.
The 78-page annual report, which promotes safety and security on campus, found that 16 of the 2010 assaults occurred in student residences.
A forcible sexual assault is defined as any sexual act against a person's will and includes rape, sodomy, forcible fondling and assault or penetration with an object.
Out of all campus forcible sexual assaults, 13 were classified as forcible rapes, compared to five in 2009 and three in 2008, the report noted. Five fondling cases occurred in 2010, compared to four in 2008 and 2009, and other forcible offenses, including sodomy, totaled four in 2010 compared to two in 2008 and three in 2009.
Those numbers might provide only part of the picture, however. The statistics are for sexual assaults reported to police, but another chart listed possible additional assaults that were reported to others who are not required by law to report them to law enforcement, such as counselors and the YWCA.
Sexual assaults reported to others in 2010 included rapes (three), fondling (three) and other forcible sexual assaults (two), for a total of eight. These incidents are separate from those reported to police and all attempts were made to eliminate duplications, according to the report.
Stanford Chief of Police Laura Wilson told the Stanford Report that the Department of Public Safety thinks the rise in sexual assaults is due to greater reporting by victims rather than an actual increase in the number of assaults. But the exact reason for the increased reporting is not known.
It could be attributed to outreach to the student community by the Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs or to the change in the way sexual misconduct cases were handled by the Office of Judicial Affairs under a pilot program launched last year, Wilson said.