Thursday, January 1, 2015
#1 Unreported Story of 2014
Besides being trapped in a major structure fire or a sunken ship, or enduring every parents worst nightmare, the loss of a child, I can't think of anything worse than being physically raped.
I'm probably in good company, so maybe that's why you never seem to see routine coverage of the horrific act in our local media.
But, as a result -- the old "out of sight, out of mind" routine -- we forget that it can happen here. Yes, even in Amherst.
In FY14 twenty two rapes were reported to the Amherst Police Department, up from seventeen in FY13. That number is more than three times the rapes reported to them in FY2005 (seven). The average over the past ten years is twelve.
Those numbers do not include our institutes of higher education.
In 2013 Hampshire College had twenty reported rapes, UMass had twenty two, and Amherst College had nine. Thus adding in the seventeen reported to APD makes a total of 68 for the entire town, out of a population of 38,000 or 1.8/1,000.
Department of Justice statistics show rape reported at rate of 1.3/1,000 nationwide, so we're well over average.
Unfortunately college aged women report rape at a much higher rate than "average": 6.1 per 1,000 female students, but this is slightly lower than the rate reported for college aged females who are not students, 7.6 per 1,000 females.
Since UMass has around 13,000 female students the 22 reported rapes in 2013 are well below the 6.1/1,000 nationwide average (which would have resulted in 79 reported rapes).
This year that just ended, 2014, will be exceedingly better for the state's flagship of higher education. The number of rapes reported to UMPD as of two weeks ago is only (and I hate to use that word) six.
But you probably will not see the UMass Office of News & Media Relations issuing a press release heralding that. Although they probably should.