Planning to study abroad? Read this.

Study shows increased risk of sexual assault


Studying abroad? (Reg Natarajan/Flickr)

Studying overseas is an overwhelmingly positive experience for most students, but it comes with some risks. A new study showed an increased incidence of sexual assaults, including rape, among undergraduate women from a U.S. school who studied in non-English-speaking countries.

It’s a shocking—although small—study. Out of 218 undergraduates surveyed, 60 (that’s 27.5 per cent) reported at least one experience of unwanted touching while abroad, 13 (6 per cent) reported an attempted sexual assault (anal, oral or vaginal) and 10 (4.6 per cent) reported rape. That risk of rape was five times higher during the semesters abroad than semesters in the U.S.

One of the study’s authors told Inside Higher Education he suspects “legal access to alcohol, lack of familiarity with the culture, maybe weaknesses in the language, and potentially even being seen as somewhat vulnerable within the country” may contribute to the higher incidence of assaults.


Planning to study abroad? Read this.

  1. As a young student who is currently living in Spain (studying Spanish but not in university classes), I’d like to briefly point out that “lack of familiarity with the culture” includes the fact that some cultures are frankly more “touchy” than others. “Unwanted touching” will most likely happen if you’re visiting a country where touching strangers is completely normal and acceptable.

    Just a thought, I want to defend studying abroad a little bit because it’s an amazing experience, and just because a small survey reports something like this doesn’t mean you should throw away your plans. Be safe, and be smart.

  2. International travel abroad is excellent. it gives u an innoculation against bullshit.