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But she said “No” (A closer look at rape and sexual assault on college campuses)

By Lindsey Bannish on October 31, 2012
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gendercommthebomb.wordpress.com “College Rape Statistics”

Lately campus buzz has been revolving around the topic of rape and sexual assault on college campuses. This is much more common than it appears and occurs in some of the most unpredicted places. Laurie Halse Anderson, award-winning novelist, describes the feeling as “I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?” in her novel Speak. This feeling, of being powerless has been felt by far too many individuals around the US and it is important to identify and speak out against actions which have left them this way.

 

The AAUW reported in 2009 that 95% of attacks on college campuses are unreported, making sexual assault the “silent epidemic.” Because of this, sexual assault remains the most drastically underreported crime. Many times victims do not report their attack because of embarrassment, fear of their attacker or fear that they will not be believed when telling their story. Rape happens to men and women however, 3% of college women nationally have experienced rape or attempted rape during the academic year. The AAUW explains that when applying this statistic, a campus with 6,000 coeds will have an average of one rape per day during the school year. When looking at a school the size of Ohio State with its 55,100 students or University of Florida with 50,700 students, more than 9 rapes/attempted rapes happen per day. However, as noted previously most of these attacks go unreported.

 

It is also important to realize that the statistics above are from 2009, but the numbers have not changed very much. On certain campuses, the number of assaults has dropped dramatically in the past four years; however, the presence of assault on campuses remains a constant threat. Campus Safety Magazine reported that 90% of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol and that 1 in 3 sexual assaults the perpetrator was intoxicated. This is extremely significant when looking at the party scene on your own campus. It is important to stay with friends when drinking and to have methods of reaching friends (cell phone, numbers, addresses, cab money) if something does go wrong.

 

Many victims know their attackers. These types of assaults are known as acquaintance rapes, defined by RAINN as “Acquaintance assault involves coercive sexual activities that occur against a person’s will by means of force, violence, duress, or fear of bodily injury. These sexual activities are imposed upon them by someone they know (a friend, date, acquaintance, etc.)”. The AAETS says that three-quarters of all rapes on college campuses are forms of acquaintance rape. Rape is a word which is hesitantly used by victims; however, if you said “no”, fought off your attacker, or felt powerless…it is a form of rape.

 

Until next time, please research some information on the statistics on your campus and find ways to protect you and your friends against this silent but extremely dangerous threat.

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I'm Lindsey, I am a Neuroscience major at Mount Holyoke College class of 2015. I have experienced a multitude of brain injuries which has made me very passionate about neuro-research. I hope to inform, support and some day help other young adults and teens who have gone through similar trauma and experiences with brain injury. In my column I hope to talk about specific health issues pertinent to college students across the United States.

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