rcasa

RCASA Therapy Thursday: Sexual Assault On Campus

In Education, Sexual Assault Awareness, Therapy on September 9, 2010 at 8:00 am

Starting college delivers a sense of independence for most students. However, amidst the many exciting changes and freedoms, students many times forget that colleges/universities are not always a safe haven. In fact, college-aged women are at a much greater risk for rape and other forms of sexual assault. College-aged women are 4 times more likely to be sexual assault victims than the general population. Unfortunately, when a woman is sexually assaulted on a college campus, her most common reaction is to keep it quiet. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, less than 5 percent of completed and attempted rapes of college students are brought to the attention of campus authorities and/or law enforcement. Perhaps this is because in the majority of these crimes, the victim and assailant are acquainted. This counters the widespread stranger-rape myth. The student victims themselves may not even label their experience as a rape or a crime for a number of reasons – self-blame, embarrassment, not understanding the definition of rape, or not wanting to identify someone they know who victimized them as a rapist. Failure to recognize and report the crime may not only result in underestimating the extent of the problem, but also may affect whether victims seek medical care and other professional help. Seeking help is important since victims of sexual assault are:

3 times more likely to suffer from depression

6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder

13 times more likely to abuse alcohol

26 times more likely to abuse drugs

4 times more likely to contemplate suicide

(www.rainn.org)

This reinforces the importance of many organizations’ efforts to improve education and knowledge about sexual assault and its impact on survivors. The Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault (RCASA) is collaborating with a local school, the University of Mary Washington (UMW) in promoting awareness and providing support by starting a women’s support group for sexual assault survivors. This group,“Healing from Sexual Assault” will be held Tuesday’s on the UMW campus from 2:30-4pm, starting September 28th. It will provide education on sexual assault and the emotional reactions to trauma, and focus on healing with topics such as: self care and coping after the trauma; boundaries, relationships and trust; emotions such as guilt, anger and blame; and grief and loss.

For more information or to join the group, please contact:

Dr. Tev Zukor, Ph.D

UMW Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Phone: 540-654-1053

or

Stephanie Lane, MA

Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault (RCASA)

540-371-6771

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