Facts About HBCU Sexual Violence — Prevalence Rates


Facts about HBCU sexual assault

There is limited research on HBCU sexual assault. So far, there is only one study focusing on this issue,  and it has considerable limitations. The sample size is fairly small and only cisgender women were surveyed in the research study.

EROC understands that there are marginalized students outside of cisgender women of color. Therefore, there is additional information provided on the Centering The Margins resource page for HBCU students who might identify other than as a cisgender woman of color.

Demographics of HBCUs

  • Today, there are over 100 HBCUs located in 19 states, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands
  • In 2013, HBCUs enrolled 61% female and 39% male students
  • Approximately 80% of HBCU students are Black
  • As of 2014, 21% of HBCUs had LGBTQ+ specific organizations on campus
  • As of 2014, only 3 HBCUs included gender identity/expression in their nondiscrimination statements
  • HBCUs disproportionately enroll low-income and first generation students
  • HBCUs have 1/8 of the average size of endowments that PWIs have
  • 1% of HBCU students are classified as undocumented


  • 1 out of 5, or 20%, HBCU women will experience sexual assault, which is the same rate  at PWIs
  • Considering HBCU sexual assault prevalence rates are similar to PWIs, it may be safe to assume that prevalence rates for male survivors  would be the same, though there are no studies to confirm this assumption
  • Black women at HBCUs are most likely to experience physically forced sexual assault (use or threats of physical force) than their white PWI counterparts who primarily experience sexual assault while incapacitated (under the influence due to use of drugs and/or alcohol).
  • Of those who experience incapacitated sexual assault, only a small percent (fewer than 5%) of victims report being drugged without their consent.
  • First and second year students are most likely to be sexualy victimized.
  • In 90% of sexual assaults that occur at HBCUs, the victim knows their attacker.
  • The majority of sexual assaults occur during the months of September (the first few weeks of a school year is called the red zone, most freshmen are sexually assaulted at this time), October (Homecoming and related events) and March (Spring Break).

Reporting Rates for HBCUs

  • Over 55% of victims disclose their sexual assault to someone close.
  • 10% of physically forced sexual assault victims and 3% of incapacitated sexual assault victims report to law enforcement, usually through campus police.
  • Fewer than half of victims were satisfied with law enforcement’s handling of cases.
  • 36% of physically forced and 69% of incapacitated sexual assault victims regretted reporting to law enforcement.
  • Fewer  than 20% of HBCU survivors report to crisis or health centers, and of those who do, nearly 75% report to centers not affiliated with their school.
  • Most common responses why victims did not report to crisis/victims centers or law enforcement is having perceptions that their assaults were “not serious enough to report.”
  • Most common response from 46% of survivors for why they chose not to file a report with law enforcement is “it was not serious enough to report.”
  • Assailants almost never receive disciplinary consequences from schools and law enforcement.

Source: The HBCU Campus Sexual Assault Study