Last week, President Trump declared April 2017 to be National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, continuing the longstanding tradition of naming April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. To commemorate the month, PRRI took a look at millennials’ (age 18-35) experience with sexual assault—and how they rate different institutions’ handling of the issue.
Fifteen percent of millennial women report that they themselves have been sexually assaulted, and more than twice that number (34 percent) report they have a close friend or family member who has been sexually assaulted. Among millennial men, only three percent report that they themselves have been sexually assaulted, but 25 percent say that a close friend or family member has been the victim of sexual assault.
Millennials report that sexual assault is prevalent both on college campuses and in high schools. Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of millennials overall say sexual assault is somewhat or very common on college and university campuses; 53 percent say it is at least somewhat common in high schools; 50 percent say it is at least somewhat common in workplaces, and 29 percent say it is at least somewhat common in middle schools. Notably, black millennial women are the most likely to perceive sexual assault in each place.
Millennials are not satisfied with how these institutions are handling sexual assault. Six in ten (60 percent) millennials say colleges and universities are not doing enough to address the problem of sexual assault, while 34 percent say they are. Millennials rate high schools only slightly higher, with 41 percent saying that high schools are doing enough to address the sexual assault issue and 53 percent disagreeing. Millennials are divided about whether middle schools (49 percent say they are, 45 percent say they are not) and workplaces (48 percent say they are, 46 percent say they are not) are doing enough to handle the problem.
And majorities say sexual harassment is common in middle and high schools, colleges, and workplaces. Fifty-two percent of millennials say sexual harassment is somewhat or very common in middle schools; roughly three-quarters of millennials say sexual harassment is at least somewhat common in high schools (75 percent) and workplaces (73 percent); and 80 percent say the same is true on college campuses.