The Historically Black College and University Campus Sexual Assault (HBCU-CSA) Study. Final report
Sexual assault has a substantial impact on both victims and society. Victims of sexual assault may suffer both immediate and long-term physical and mental health consequences, including injury, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy (Holmes, Resnick, Kirkpatrick, & Best, 1996). Victims of sexual assault report increasing their visits to physicians by 18% the year of the assault, by 56% the year after the assault, and by 31% two years after the assault (Koss, 1993). Four out of five rape victims subsequently suffer from chronic physical or psychological conditions (American Medical Association, 1995), and rape victims are 13 times more likely to attempt suicide than persons who have not been crime victims and 6 times more likely than victims of other crimes (Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, 1992). Overall, rape is believed to carry the highest annual victim cost of any crime: $127 billion (excluding child sex abuse cases). It is followed by assault at $93 billion per year, murder (excluding arson and drunk driving) at $61 billion per year, and child abuse at $56 billion per year (Miller, Cohen, & Wiersema, 1996).
Given the substantial impact that sexual victimization has on individual victims and society, collecting information that advances our understanding of sexual assault, helps us prevent victimization, and better meets the needs of victims is critical. Although a considerable amount of research on sexual violence on college campuses has been conducted, very little of this research has involved historically
black college and university (HBCU) students. As a result, there is a substantial gap in the literature and knowledge base about the magnitude of the problem, what is being done to reduce the problem, and what more can be done to prevent sexual violence and meet the needs of victims of sexual assault on HBCU campuses. The gap in research makes it difficult to fully understand the sexual assault experiences of African American students in general, given that almost 20% of African American baccalaureates receive their degree from HBCUs (Provasnik & Shafer, 2004).