Number Of Reported Rapes Nearly Doubles At Harvard

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – A troubling new statistic has Ivy League women concerned. “It’s very frightening,” says Harvard sophomore Emily Jones. She’s talking about the number of reported rapes in Harvard’s latest crime report, which has nearly doubled in the last year.

In 2011, there were 12 confidentially reported rapes. In 2012, the number jumped to 23, and they all occurred on campus. “That’s a very serious statistic,” says Jones.

But rape victim advocates are surprisingly positive about the news. “I don’t think increased reporting numbers tell us necessarily about a spike in incidents,” explains Meg Bossong of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. “I think it tells us about a spike in work and comfort about making sure students know how to access resources.”

“If it’s just the amount being reported, I think that’s good. If it’s the actual amount of rapes that’s doubled, that’s frightening,” says sophomore Evelyn Donatelli. She and other students say they feel Harvard offers good services for preventing and dealing with sexual assaults. “I still think while their efforts are really good, there’s clearly something not getting through,” says student Leshay Henderson. “There’s a gap somewhere.”

Harvard Police spokesperson Steven Catalano says most of the people involved in campus rapes know each other. “We’re concerned about any violent victimization, but if there are more people seeking out services, that would be the one positive, connecting people with help.”

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