BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts colleges are under pressure to make their campuses safer after five women reported being sexually assaulted in the past week.
The latest attacks happened at Curry College in Milton, where police are looking for four men who tried to pull clothes off students in two separate incidents. In Worcester, a student was reportedly sexually assaulted at knifepoint at Worcester State University. And at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, one student has been arrested following two sexual assaults in the past week.READ MORE: Dartmouth College Requires Remote Employees Be Vaccinated
Gayle Raffe, of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, says sexual assault rates are rising at colleges here and across the country.
“It’s not necessarily an increase in the number of assaults on campus,” Raffe said. “But it’s an increase in the number of assaults that have been reported as a result of not only reporting guidelines that are being made public, but schools doing more awareness and education.”
Experts say one in five female students, and one in 15 male students are sexually assaulted while in college.
“There’s misunderstanding between people, and women are sometimes not equipped to be able to defend themselves,” says student Meghane Reddy.READ MORE: Veteran Sportscaster Bob Neumeier Dies
At Brandeis University, thousands signed an online petition demanding action from the administration. After the school became the focus of a federal probe, Brandeis promised a new rape crisis center to open up by the end of this semester.
Last week the Obama administration launched an awareness campaign. Among other things, it urges bystanders to take action.
Students like Emma Brown of Boston University applaud the idea.
“We’re all part of a student community together, and we all have to rely on each other to be safe,” she said.MORE NEWS: Beverly Man Dies While Hiking On New Hampshire Trail
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