Sexual assaults on Stanford campus rise

Reported sexual assaults rose to 21 in 2010, more than double the amount from 2009

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.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by publicity
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 30, 2011 at 10:09 am

Part of the problem is that these incidents, even when reported to the police, are rarely reported in the media. That lulls potential victims into a false sense of safety. It also emboldens attackers into thinking that they got away with their past crimes. Please increase the publicity about these crimes, both at Stanford and around town. You don't have to identify the victim; just provide enough information to keep the public aware of the on-going problem.

Like this comment
Posted by Abby
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2011 at 10:37 am

Another concern - according to a survey conducted by the CDC, 95% of rapes and sexual assaults on college campuses are never reported at all. If Stanford follows national averages - a safe assumption - that means the number of rapes and sexual assaults is more like 320, not 16.

Like this comment
Posted by Alcohol a Factor?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

It's interesting that the Stanford Daily ran a (9/27/11 edition) a front page article headlined "Alcohol education initiative debuts" "Student Affairs opens Office of Alcohol Policy and Education" which would lead one to believe that they are on to something that could have a very beneficial effect in curbing the drinking and residence hall sexual assaults. I am glad that they have formed an "Office of Alcohol Policy and Education (OAPE) to be headed by Ralph Castro (former Vaden Health Center Assoc. Dir.). He will be focusing on on developing alcohol free events on campus. Vice Provost Greg Boardman said that several residential assistants expressed "a lack of alternative kinds of programs" to alcohol-centered events. Boardman and Castro said that their statistics show that a significant amount of drinking occurs in residence halls. They feel there is an urgent need for proper training for residence staff. "We believe that by actively setting positive norms and engaging with residents throughout the year on the front end, that student staff will be able to prevent negative consequences and limit the amount of time they spend responding to dangerous behaviors on the back end", Castro said. This is all very interesting.....In light of the fact that statistics show that roughly 10% of people are alcoholic and that college is a notorious for heavy drinking to start unchecked by family etc. We need more community awareness on this and more opportunities for budding young alcoholics to learn about their disease and possibly be able to do something about it before they suffer severely adverse consequences (ie being raped in the dorm or elsewhere, flunking out of school, DUI etc. etc.). Could any light be shed on what percentage of these sexual assaults were fueled by alcohol or other drugs? This would be a very interesting part of this report.

Like this comment
Posted by Sick of it
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 30, 2011 at 10:46 am

Can someone finally recognize the link between this behavior and hardcore pornography?? Time to wake up people.

Like this comment
Posted by Really sick of it
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 30, 2011 at 10:52 am

Yes, the link between porn and violent crime is just as provable as the link between violent action movies and violent crime. Why else is crime so much lower in countries that censor these kinds of things?

Like this comment
Posted by Eva
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 30, 2011 at 11:02 am

Although the countries that censor porn and violent action movies also censor the stats from being reported in the news, so we really can't draw a proper conclusion from that data alone.

Like this comment
Posted by Love it or Leave it
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I don't really care about hard core porn, don't view it, but don't mind it. This is America! As long as its between two consenting adults, who are you to say "ban it". Afterall, soccer moms in Palo Alto should be banned from driving prius vehicles just because I say so! Its so simple, yet so few people understand what it truly means to be free, don't want porn? Go to IRAN!

Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 30, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I live across from Stanford. I wish they would say more about where and how these assaults happened. On the periphery? In dorms? Date rape? I have walked from the Stadium or Maples back to my place in the evening, as well as taking walks in the daytime through the campus. Some information would be helpful for the neighbors of Stanford.

Like this comment
Posted by Local Observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Stanford is a hotbed of crime; see today's Stanford Daily:

Web Link

To see where all the crime at Stanford is occurring, click this URL:

Web Link

and enter "campus drive, stanford, ca" (without the quotes).

Note all the icons for registered sex offenders; click on each to see the name, picture, address, and other info; the icon is an inverted triangle around a head&shoulders silhouette.

Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Stanford a "hotbed" of crime?!!

While there definitely is campus crime (it is an open campus), and the reported incidence of sexual crimes has increased, it looks like the University is trying to address the issue in several ways (from police presence to alcohol/drug awareness).

The map you refer to looks WAY more frightening for Palo Alto itself ---and, even PA is pretty safe relative to other Peninsula towns and to SF.

Again...."hotbed of crime" is hysterical. Calm down. Be aware and take logical safety precautions -- just like I and my neighbors in our nearby community do.

If you still feel unsafe, you could move.

Like this comment
Posted by observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm

The tune in PA Online comments has become more and more black-n-white these days. We hear more inpatient voices. PA is not a take-or-leave community afterall.

Like this comment
Posted by Produce-Better-Crime-Statistics
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2011 at 6:47 am

Missing from the Stanford report is any information about the crimes themselves. There is no "closure" information. So, how many of these sexual assault crimes are actually investigated? Are they attacks on students by students, or are they attacks by people who have gravitated to the campus because there are a lot of unsuspecting people to victimize?

It is very difficult to remember ever reading any articles in the local papers about sexual assault perpetrators being arrested, or tried. Certainly some of those involved in rapes are students. What happens to them? Are they expelled? And is Stanford responsible financially for medical expenses, and legal bills, for students who were assaulted?

The crime rate in Palo Alto is somewhat higher if Stanford crime is included. Unfortunately, the Stanford crimes seem to not be reported to the FBI in the same way the Palo Alto/Menlo Park crimes are--so the UCR statistics are distorted for these two towns.

The Santa Clara County DA's Office owes the residents of Santa Clara County (at least) better reporting of crime on the county's campuses, as well as better reporting of the success of bring the "perps" to justice.

Like this comment
Posted by Drew
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Pornography is not protected by legal precedent in a "take it or leave it" fashion.

Anyone trying to lecture the forum on what "this" being "America" actually means should spend some time researching what "America['s]" stance on the issue has been (see Miller v. California).

"America" isn't synonymous with smut. Nor should it be.

Like this comment
Posted by Love it or Leave it
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Next is rock music (after columbine that was the main blame) Violent video games, comic books, then its gun ownership, then its ......

off to the concentration camps.

Like this comment
Posted by Drew
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2011 at 12:30 am

If an addiction to pornography is such that society's limits on the pervasiveness of the monstrosity is to someone the equivalent of a "concentration camp," that person might need to seek professional counseling.

Like this comment
Posted by BrendaSmith
a resident of Atherton
on Oct 8, 2011 at 4:13 am

There is no such thing as a safe city or a safe neighborhood. Being careful, alert,and watchful are most of the things we need to do. As a student there are times that I don't feel safe. However I found this blog with a new safety app. It has allowed me to feel safer all the time: Web Link

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Palo Alto, rejoice. Mike's Cafe is back.
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 2,247 views

Premarital and Couples: Musings on Life
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,591 views

Why we are Warming
By Sherry Listgarten | 30 comments | 1,519 views

Cap On? Cap Off? The Cities Respond
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 1,259 views

List for a new baby
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 325 views