Sexual assault on college campuses is already a known epidemic. But a recent study has dug further into the issue — and discovered a frightening increase in the number of rapes following one cherished campus event: Football games.
The study found that on any game day at Division 1 colleges, the number of rapes reported by victims between the ages of 17 and 24 spiked 28 percent in the local policing area. The reports grew to 41 percent on home games.
“Division I football games offer a clear instance [when] partying is intensified,” Montana State University’s Isaac Swensen, one of the report’s authors, told Bloomberg News.
The December study, conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, linked these heightened numbers to the increased amount of partying and drinking that follows any college football game — especially when a home team wins. Researchers also found a considerable surge in the percent of rapes committed by strangers — for home games, reports of rape by an unknown offenders increased 61 percent, while reports of attacks by known offenders grew 28 percent.
“By providing convincing evidence that spikes in the degree of partying at a university escalate the incidence of rape, our results suggest that efforts to avoid such spikes could serve to reduce the incidence of rape,” the researchers wrote.
This means that college football games are responsible for 253 and 770 additional rapes per year across the 128 Division 1 schools, according to the new data.
These new numbers aren’t restricted to athletes, and simply reflect assaults by any college-aged person following a game. But a string of sexual assaults by prominent college athletes — including many football players — have focused criticism on schools that celebrate “jock culture” for allowing rape culture to flourish and failing to punish rapists, especially when they’re athletes.