Reports of rape increase on Ohio college campuses

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CrimeTracker 10 compared reports of rape at a half-dozen central Ohio colleges and universities and found most schools reported an increase in the number of sexual assaults happening on campus.

Ohio State University police said on any given day, 100,000 people are on campus.

A recent annual campus safety report showed in 2017, police investigated 71 reports of rape on campus, compared to 57 the year before.

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Ohio State University Title IX coordinator, Kellie Brennan, said the increase may be a reflection of more victims coming forward to report the crime.

"We think that's due to the amount of awareness and training that we're doing across campus, particularly with our incoming students since 2016," said Brennan. "Reporting is about receiving support. We don't want that to be a scary thing. We want that to be something that people feel confident and comfortable coming forward...that they will be believed and supported and helped."

In September of 2018, students at Ohio University in Athens hung banners promoting consent after six women reported they were sexually assaulted not long after classes began.

Several of the rapes occurred off campus. The annual crime report, however, suggests the number of rapes on campus hasn't skyrocketed. Police investigated 33 reports of rape in 2017, compared to 32 reports the prior year.

Bowling Green State University reported 20 rapes in 2017, compared to eight reports in 2016.

Otterbein University in Westerville also reported an increase in rape reports. Three incidents on campus in 2017 compared to one rape report the year before.

Denison University investigated three rape reports in 2017 compared to four the previous year and eight in 2015.

Miami University at Oxford also reported a slight dip, 23 rape reports in 2017 compared to 25 reports in 2016. The number is still significantly higher than four rape reports received in 2015.

Law enforcement said on the surface the numbers are concerning, but police said the recent 'Me Too' movement, coupled with more support services offered on college campuses, has resulted in more victims choosing to break their silence.