To many students across the country, college football game days are the best days of the year. But, new research indicates these party-filled, crazy game days may be dangerous – especially to women. In fact, in comparison to other days, game days are associated with a higher rate of sexual assault.
According to a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Division I football games “significantly increase reports of rape involving college-aged victims.” The study found that on game days, the number of reported rapes by 17- to 24-year-old victims in college towns increased by 28%.
During days of home games, reports of rape jump 41% – compared with 15% during days of away games. During home games, reports of rape involving unknown assailants increased by 61% while reports of sexual attacks by known offenders jumped 28%.
One of the report’s authors, Montana State University’s Isaac Swensen, notes that while other activities cause increased drinking and reckless behavior, including assault, “Division I football games offer a clear instance [when] partying is intensified.”
The study used local crime data collected by the FBI and cross referenced it with a sample of Division I football schools. Focusing on assaults against student-age victims in those spots, calculations estimated that football games “cause” between 253 and 770 more rapes annually across the 128 Division I football schools.
According to researchers, on days with upset wins there were increased numbers of reports of rape while days with upset losses did not show an increase. Not surprisingly, that supports the notion that the increase in reported sexual assaults may be connected to more intense partying due to football games. Also according to the study, upset wins increased the number of arrests for drunkenness, while upset losses did not.
The researchers wrote that, “By providing convincing evidence that spikes in the degree of partying at a university escalate the incidence of rape, our results suggest that efforts to avoid such spikes could serve to reduce the incidence of rape.”