Kennesaw State police arrested a student Nov. 9 in connection with the rape of a 20-year-old woman, the most recent of almost three dozen rape allegations reported to campus police in the last four years.
Middle grades education major Benjamin Wainscott is being held without bond in the Cobb County Adult Detention Center after confessing to the felony rape charge. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the woman said Wainscott assaulted her in a dorm room during a date.
Wainscott’s case is the most recent in a series of 32 rape allegations reported to KSU PD since January 2014, according to data collected from the university’s daily crime log — five of those reports were made in 2017 alone.
KSU has higher rates of sexual misconduct than other four-year universities of comparable size. Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern University and Georgia State University all have fewer reports of dating violence, stalking and rape than KSU.
Between 2014 and 2016, KSU experienced 17 reports of stalking, 27 reports of rape and 24 reports of dating violence. By contrast, Georgia Southern experienced three reports of stalking, seven reports of rape and seven reports of dating violence in the same timespan.
According to an email statement by university spokeswoman Tammy DeMel, the daily crime log lists incidents reported to KSU police regardless of when or where they occurred and prior to a full investigation.
Since August 2017, six allegations of rape and sexual assault have been reported to KSU police, according to the daily crime log. In that same time frame, the university sent out three timely notifications of crimes committed on campus in accordance with the Clery Act, a federal mandate that requires universities to make students aware of on-campus crime.
Two of those notifications were related to fondling cases, and one was related to a robbery — Wainscott’s charges were not among the notifications.
“In this most recent incident, law enforcement officials, using guidance under the Celery (sic) Act, determined that the suspect was not a threat to the campus,” DeMel said. “However, based on the feedback President Olens received today during a meeting with students, the university is looking at strategies that will provide for more robust communication on incidents that could be of concern to students and our campus.”
According to a survey conducted by the American Association of Universities, 23 percent of college females report experiencing unwanted sexual contact. The National Sexual Violence Prevention Center reports that 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police.
According to an Oct. 31 research study conducted by three University of Michigan researchers, 21.7 percent of those forced to have intercourse were given drugs or alcohol. The most common response indicated that 44.13 percent of those forced to have intercourse were pressured by words or actions. Another 14.16 percent were physically harmed, and 30.95 percent were physically held down.
This data comes in the wake of numerous reports of sexual misconduct by public figures, including film executive Harvey Weinstein, Senate candidate Roy Moore and comedian Louis C.K., among others.
The Sentinel attempted to speak with the Austin Residence Complex and University Village Suites, but representatives were not available for comment at the time.
When asked why the incidents of sexual misconduct are so high, DeMel said that the high numbers may allude to a greater number of students choosing to report crimes.
“Through the increased education and training efforts, incidents that may not have been reported in the past are now being brought to the attention of law enforcement and investigated,” DeMel said. “While one incident is too many, the increased number of reports indicate that students are utilizing the resources available to them.”
The university encourages students to use the LiveSafe app, the Women’s Resource and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Center and to reference the mandatory interpersonal violence training course that must be completed prior to registration.
“The security of the entire campus community is of paramount importance and it takes us all, working together, to ensure that KSU remains a safe environment for the future,” DeMel said.
If you have experienced any form of sexual harassment and would like to share your story, please send an email to our secure tip line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The story will be updated online as more information and comments are gathered. Follow this story as it develops at ksusentinel.com.
Alex Patton and Cory Hancock contributed to this article.