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University of Hawaii survey results show most domestic/sexual assaults were not reported to campus officials

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HONOLULU -

Tough questions but possibly helpful answers, as University of Hawaii students took a survey on sexual harassment and violence in their lives and the results are out.

31 percent of more than 6,000 students surveyed say they've experienced violence both on and off campus.

Anything from domestic violence to non consensual sexual contact. 

The 261 page report also revealed, most that were violated didn't report it to campus officials. 

"We wish all of the numbers were lower and so when we look at something like this, it's an opportunity for us to tailor programs to make improvements so that all of our students can become safer on campus," David Lassner, University of Hawaii president said. 

Lassner says one of the goals is to make students more aware of the Title 9 office. The support haven can be found inside Hawai'i Hall at UH Manoa, but is also available on campuses system wide. 

The study also found females and Native Hawaiians accounted for higher rates of assault. Close to 2 percent of students reported being sexually assaulted by faculty. 

Nanci Kreidman of the Domestic Violence Action Center says the number of violence or assaults reported in the survey don't surprise her. 

"The university does not exist in a vacuum and we have multiple partner violence and sexual violence in dating violence occurring throughout the community and across the globe," Kreidman said.

Crime Statistics at UH Manoa show a rise in reported rapes from school years 2014 to 2016, that's around the same time UH expanded access to Title 9 offices. 

Assault experts tell Island News, it's typical to see the number of reported cases increase when more help is available.  

"The first thing that happens, it looks like numbers go up because more people are comfortable with reporting. Every institution that has gotten serious about developing programs to support students and faculty who have encountered sexual harassment, sexual violence have seen those numbers go up before they start going down," Lassner said. 

Hollywood's strong spotlight on unearthing sex crimes has gained traction around the globe. 

Experts believe it will likely inspire more and more victims to come forward.  

UH Freshmen Sophia Egger says it's long overdue. 

"Especially among women, I think for a long time, people have been afraid to speak out just because for girls, it's scary, people don't want to hear it. Definitely when people like celebrities be called, people listen," Egger said. 

UH students can expect another survey next year. The school says it's committed to campus safety and stricter policies. 

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