Rhodes College reports second highest number of sexual assaults in Tenn

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's a private liberal arts college with fewer than 2,000 students, and yet figures from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation indicate it's home to a disproportionate number of sexual assaults.

Almost one in five on-campus sexual assaults in Tennessee occurred at Rhodes College in 2015, according to the TBI.

"I’m not surprised," said Rhodes student Lexie Perkins.

The latest assault happened April 2 when a woman said she was attacked by two acquaintances.

Two other students said they were attacked by the same man at a frat house last month.

"I just don’t know what to say at this point," said student Athena Baker.

Rhodes College reported 21 on-campus sexual assaults last year.

By comparison, the University of Memphis -- which has 10 times as many students -- only reported six assaults.

There were a total of 119 on-campus sexual assaults statewide.

"Ultimately, we want to make sure that this data is as accurate as possible," said Josh DeVine, a spokesperson for the TBI.

DeVine said the TBI audits the self-reported crime data to ensure all crimes are being categorized correctly.

Still, some students wonder if the numbers are little misleading.

"It's not an unusual rate, and I think that largely, at other schools, people are afraid to say anything," said Perkins.

At Rhodes, students say that fear is absent.

“I know I feel comfortable enough with the faculty and staff here that if something had happened to me, I would definitely be comfortable about reporting it," said Sophie Costa.

Statewide, only Vanderbilt University reported more sexual assaults than Rhodes -- 22 in 2015.


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