The college town of Missoula, Montana, saw at least 80 reported rapes over three years, earning it the name "America's Rape Capital." But the nickname has it wrong. Missoula isn't special; it is fairly average
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Practically overnight, Missoula went from being the home of one of the nation's most respected public universities to a place where young women were victimized in horrible, violent attacks—or, as news coverage began describing it, "America's rape capital."
The nickname, however, has it wrong. Calling Missoula the rape capital is as misleading as it is ugly. The University of Montana isn't a bizarre sexual-assault outlier in higher education. Instead, it is fairly average. The truth is, for young women, particularly those who are 18 or 19 years old, just beginning their college experience, America's campuses are hazardous places. Recent research shows that 1 in 5 women is the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault during college.
This appears in the May 26, 2014 issue of TIME.