Stanford University

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Stanford Survivors Discuss Sexual Assault Prevention

A summit on sexual assault prevention was held at Stanford University Monday, featuring Peninsula Congresswoman Jackie Speier and stories from survivors.

One point of dispute during the event was just how big the problem is. The university said fewer than 2 percent of Stanford women are victims of sexual assault, but students claim it is far worse than that.

Stephanie Pham founded the group One in Five, a reference to a survey by the Association of American Universities saying one in five female college students are sexually assaulted. Pham is critical of Stanford's report earlier this month saying that fewer than one in 50 female students are sexually assaulted.

And the United States Justice Department's numbers from 2013 are even lower, showing one in 160 college women are raped or sexually assaulted.

The difference is in the definition. Some surveys include kissing or sexual touching, while other use only completed or attempted penetration.

"What we need to do is have stronger laws on the books," Speier said. "Make sure there's enforcement and change the culture."

Speier is co-author of the Campus Sexual Violence Act, which would require universities to survey students about sexual assault every two years, allow students to sue colleges or universities and provide $5 million more for investigators nationwide.

Two sexual assault victims spoke at Monday's event, not about the assault, but about their treatment afterward.

"The process I underwent was almost as traumatic as the rape itself," one victim said.

"I immediately reported him to Title IX and Stanford did all that it could to protect him," the other victim said.

Speier predicts a long, but eventually successful fight for safety on campus.

"This means you don't settle and this means you don't walk away," Speier said.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Stanford University for a response to Monday's allegations, but did not get a response.

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