Notes on the Journey

Iowa State official says it is time for ‘surgeon-like’ approach to sexual assault rates

As one of the 33% of females who has been sexually assaulted by males, I need to point out that people who claim to be “transgender” amount to roughly .08% of total population. And yet, the money keeps pouring into gay and lesbian organizations to trumpet the problems of this tiny minority of mentally disturbed individuals while women’s organizations have to fight for money for operating expenses and get shut down if they won’t support the lie that people can change their sex at will. The women’s relief organizations that I helped establish in a great grassroots effort in the 1970’s are being forced, by corporate medical megabucks, to center males with autogynephilia in their programming. It’s a genius move on the part of corporations to erase women this way and to promote the illusion that rape/sexual assault/incest are equal opportunity crimes and that women are sexually assaulting men now in equal numbers. My father did not rape my GENDER. He did not batter my IDENTITY. He used his male body to overpower and exploit my female body. Stop the subterfuge. Women’s bodies matter.

Iowa State University officials took the first disheartening national survey showing the prevalence of sexual misconduct on their campus as a call to bolster sexual assault resources broadly across the board.

Now, presented similarly disheartening statistics for a second time, officials at the ISU say it’s time switch tactics and to get more technical.

“What we are doing is getting deeper,” said Margo Foreman, Iowa State’s Director of Equal Opportunity. “We’re becoming more surgeon-like in making sure that the resources that we do have are basically laid out and able to be used by a wide variety of individuals.”

Iowa State is the only Iowa university to participate in the Association of American Universities student climate survey on sexual assault and misconduct, the results of which were released Monday.

Foreman said university officials will spend the coming months deciding where to make the first surgical cuts. Staff are still making their way through the 199-page report spelling out results specific to their university or the 433-page report describing the aggregate results among the dozens of institutions that participated.

But some statistics stand out, including the rates of violence experienced by students who self-identified transgender, genderqueer or non-binary. The survey refers to these participants as TGQN students.

“The risks are different,” Foreman said. “We know there’s a propensity for folks who..are not in the binary, who are not heterosexual to be victimized by sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence.”

Among survey participant at Iowa State University, 11 percent of students of any gender experienced some sort of assault, or non-consensual sexual contact, since starting college. Nationally, 13 percent of survey takers said they have experienced some sort of sexual assault.

“The disturbing news from this year’s survey is that sexual assault and misconduct remain far too prevalent among students at all levels of study,” wrote Mary Sue Coleman, AAU president and a former University of Iowa president, in the aggregate climate survey report.

The survey shows a slight increase in reports of sexual assault reports compared to 2015 statistics. Though Foreman said it’s not clear whether this increase is due to an increase in physical assaults or a slight increase in students feeling comfortable enough to note in a survey that they have been assaulted.


TGQN students are particularly vulnerable

As with the 2015 survey, women and TGQN students who participated in the 2019 survey reported the highest rates of non-consensual sexual conduct. Roughly 20 percent of women and TGQN students indicated they experienced some type of sexual misconduct, compared to 4 percent of male survey takers.

By the AAU’s account, this year’s survey is one of the largest sample sizes of TGQN students ever studied, with just under 2% of survey takers marking a TGQN category.

At Iowa State, Foreman estimates that 13% of TGQN students participated in the AAU’s survey. The survey itself only includes participation rates for female and male students; AAU authors say they based the rates off Iowa State’s administrative data, which only listed “man” and “woman” as gender categories. According to the survey, 19 percent of women and 11 percent of men participated.

Similar findings are hinted at in the University of Iowa’s most recent sexual assault climate survey, though UI officials caution against directly comparing their in-house student survey and the AAU survey. They say it is inaccurate to compare their internal survey statistics to the AAU’s survey because universities use different measures to assess sexual misconduct.

The University of Iowa conducts it’s climate survey every two years. The most recent survey only offers students the gender options of “Female,” “Male” and “Missing/prefer not to answer.”

The UI’s survey does ask for the student’s sexual orientation. The results showed that gay and bisexual men and women reported higher rates of sexual misconduct than their peers.

Foreman said the participation of TGQN students in the AAU survey is encouraging. But she is hopeful Iowa State can increase survey participation and access to resources on campus.

“We need to do some targeted work to make sure that this population is more engaged sexual misconduct prevention and reporting, and all those things,” Foreman said.

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