More than one in thirteen women at Cambridge University has been sexually assaulted, a shocking new survey has found.
According to the study, women at the prestigious institution are routinely groped, molested and even raped – but overwhelmingly do not even report the attacks.
The survey, which received over 2,000 responses, revealed that the majority of sexual assaults happen inside the university’s historic colleges, where students typically live for the majority of their studies.
Of the women who responded to the online survey, 8.4 per cent said that they had experienced attempts to seriously sexually assault them.
However, the vast majority – 88 per cent – of victims did not report the assault, and only two students involved the police, with most contacting university staff instead.
An anonymous rape victim who answered the survey said she did not report her attacker because she was so certain nothing would come of it.
She said: ‘I have no reason to believe that my report will be taken seriously, be investigated or result in a conviction. On the contrary I have every reason to believe that he would be acquitted.’
Of the University’s 12,200 undergraduates, 43 per cent are female. If the findings of the survey are applied across the university population, this would mean that 481 women have been subject to attempted sexual assault.
More than half of those who answered the survey also said they had been made to feel uncomfortable by sexual comments, reflecting other studies linking sexualised ‘lad culture’ at the country’s top universities with a high prevalence of rape.
The findings from the Cambridge study are broadly in line with national research. A nationwide report in 2010 found that 7 per cent of female students had been sexually assaulted.
The National Union of Students survey also found that 16 per cent had been molested, often in public, and that 12 per cent had been stalked.
CUSU women’s officer Lauren Steele told Varsity: ‘An incident of sexual harassment, assault, stalking or physical violence can have devastating effects on the individual, impacting on their ability to study and learn, their mental health, and their relationships.
‘The University and colleges have a responsibility to provide support and care for their students.’
In response to the survey, a University spokesman said: ‘The University is committed to the welfare and safety of all its members, and expects all members of its community to treat each other with respect and consideration at all times, and to act within the law.’
‘The level of support available to students at the University of Cambridge is unparalleled in most other universities. The health and wellbeing committee is currently examining the impact of rape and sexual assaults on students in Cambridge.’