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RCASA Friday Facts: College Students and Sexual Violence

In Friday Facts, Sexual Assault Awareness on August 17, 2012 at 5:06 am
Rape on college campuses is a much more serious problem than many people realize. Here’s what you should know about sexual assault and college campuses.

Sexual assault on college campuses is an epidemic. Sexual violence is a painful and psychologically devastating experience for victims, and many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, up to 40% of rape victims develop sexually transmitted diseases. If you’re a student on a college campus, you need to know the facts about sexual violence on campus.

Statistics. According to the American Association of University Women:

  • 20 to 25 percent of college women are raped during their college career.
  • 65 percent of these attacks go unreported
  • Alcohol is involved in 75 percent of attacks.

{Source: The American Association of University Women, 2004)

Facts. Here are some things you need to know about rape:

  1. No one deserves to be raped, ever. Many women blame themselves because they were drinking, wearing revealing clothes, or some other reason. While rape victims sometimes make lapses in judgment–as does everybody– no lapse in judgement is ever deserving of rape. No rape victim is ever “asking for it.” If you are the victim of sexual violence, please understand that what happened was wrong and that it was not your fault.
  2. Most rapists are not strangers. Yes, you should be careful when you’re walking alone at night. However, stranger rape is much less common than rape at the hands of someone the victim knows. This type of rape is known as date rape or acquaintance rape. What’s more, the majority of rapes are planned.
  3. Forced intercourse is not the only kind of rape. While the definition of what constitute rape varies, you should know that all unwanted sexual contact is sexual violence, and it’s wrong.
  4. Men are raped too. By far, most victims of sexual assault are women, but this isn’t always the case.

What should you do if you get raped?

  1. Get yourself to a safe place. Don’t be shy about calling 911, especially if you are injured or if you fear another attack. If at all possible, find a supportive person who can help you, like a close friend or a residence assistant.
  2. Resist the urge to take a bath or a shower. Cleaning yourself is a natural impulse, but don’t. Your body is covered with physical evidence that can help catch the rapist. Preserve all evidence, such as your clothing.
  3. Get medical attention immediately! Even if you do not plan to report the rape, it is crucial that you seek help at the campus health center or elsewhere. Prompt medical assistance reduces you chance of developing some STDs, and many women choose to take the morning after pill to prevent pregnancy. Rape victims also sustain other physical injuries, and you may be more hurt than you realize. Yes, an intimate medical exam is the last thing you want after such a horrible experience, but it’s something you need to do for the sake of your health.
  4. Get psychological counseling as soon as possible. Rape is a traumatic experience, and most women need help coping. Be kind to yourself and get the help you need! Most campus counselors are well trained to help rape victims. A great resource is the 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
  5. Report the assault to the campus and/or city police. Many women choose not to do this, and their decisions should be respected. But if you are raped, please consider reporting it. Doing so may prevent the rapist from hurting someone else, and if enough women report rapes, rape statistics may go down because the consequences will go up. And even if the rapist never strikes again, that bastard deserves to be punished. If there’s a chance the rapist could attack you again, definitely report him.

Reducing the risk of rape. Rape is never the victim’s fault. However, there are some important safety precautions you can take to reduce the risk.

Read more at Suite101: College Students & Sexual Violence: What You Should Know about Date Rape and Safety on College Campuses | Suite101.com http://suite101.com/article/college-students-sexual-violence-a26356#ixzz215aRAviK

RCASA Friday Facts: Campus Sexual Assault Facts and Figures

In Friday Facts, Sexual Assault Awareness on August 10, 2012 at 5:00 am

Facts and Figures

  • 95% of attacks are unreported, making sexual assault the “silent epidemic.” Sexual assault remains the most drastically underreported crime (*see the paragraph below the statistics for more on why). (1)
  • 3% of college women nationally have experienced rape or attempted rape during the academic year. This means, for example, that a campus with 6,000 coeds will have an average of one rape per day during the school year. (2)
  • 13% of women are stalked during the academic year, and each stalking episode lasts an average of 60 days. (2)
  • 90% of women know the person who sexually assaulted or raped them. (2)
  • 75% of the time, the offender, the victim, or both have been drinking. (3)
  • 42% of college women who are raped tell no one about the assault. (4)
  • 5% of rape incidents are reported to the police. (2) 10 times more rapes are reported to crisis lines than are reported to the police. (5)
  • 42% of raped women expect to be raped again. (4)

* While there are many reasons why people do not report, the most often cited reason in a 2009 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity was institutional barriers on campus. Two examples of these institutional barriers are administrators who respond to students with disbelief or other inappropriate behavior and campus judiciary processes that are difficult to understand and follow. Many students who were discouraged because of these barriers transferred or withdrew from their schools, while their alleged attackers were almost uniformly unpunished.(XX)

Debunking Myths
Both college women and men harbor misconceptions about sexual assault. Getting the facts is essential to combating sexual assault on campus.

  • 71% of rapes are planned in advance. (6)
  • 80% of women who are raped try to physically resist. (6)
  • 48.8% of the women did not consider what happened to them to be rape even though researchers considered the incidents to be rape. (2)
  • 43% of college-aged men conceded to using coercive behavior to have sex (including ignoring a woman’s protest, using physical aggression, and forcing intercourse) but did not admit that it was rape. (7)

The Impact on Victims
Physical and emotional

  • 40% of rape survivors develop sexually transmitted diseases as a result of sexual assault. (8)
  • 80% of rape victims suffer chronic physical or psychological problems over time. (9)
  • 13 times as many rape survivors are more likely to attempt suicide than are people who are not victims of crime. Rape survivors are six times more likely to attempt suicide than are victims of other crimes. (10)
  • 25–50% of sexual assault victims seek mental health treatment as a result of the assault. (11)

Academics and achievement
In addition to physical and emotional damage, college students who have been victims of sexual assault suffer from a host of problems that impede their academic achievement.

  • In nearly every case, victims cannot perform at the same academic levels that they did prior to the attack.
  • Sexual assault sometimes causes students to be unable to carry a normal class load, and they miss classes more frequently. (This is often a result of social withdrawal or a way to avoid seeing the perpetrator.)
  • Student victims regularly withdraw from courses altogether.
  • In more traumatic incidents, victims leave the school until they recover, sometimes transferring to another college.

(12) – four bullets above

(1) Fisher, Bonnie S., Francis T. Cullen, and Michael G. Turner. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Available at www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/182369.pdf.

(2) Fisher, Bonnie S., Francis T. Cullen, and Michael G. Turner. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Available at www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/182369.pdf.

(3) Abbey, A., L. Thomson Ross, D. McDuggie, & P. McAuslan. (1996). Alcohol and dating risk factors for sexual assault among college women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 20, 147-169.

(4) Warshaw, Robin. (1994). I never called it rape. New York: Harper Perennial.

(5) U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. National crime victimization survey.
Available at http://www.fact-index.com/n/na/national_crime_victimization_survey.html.

(6) DC Rape Crisis Center. Turning anger into change. Available at www.dcrcc.org.

(7) American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Adolescence. (1994). Sexual assault and the adolescent. Pediatrics, 94(5), 761-765.

(8) Holmes, Melissa, Heidi A. Resnick, Dean G. Kirkpatrick, & Connie L. Best. (1996). Rape-related pregnancy: Estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 175(2), 320-325.

(9) American Medical Association. (1995). Strategies for the treatment and prevention of sexual assault.
Available at www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/386/sexualassault.pdf.

(10) National Victim Center and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center. (1992). Rape in America: A report to the nation. Charleston, SC: University of South Carolina.

(11) Miller, Ted, Mark A. Cohen, & Brian Wierama. Victim costs and consequences: A new look. 1996. Washington, DC: U.S. Department. of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/155282.htm.

(12) Kirkland, Connie J. (1994). Academic impact of sexual assault. Fairfax, VA: George Mason University. Available at http://www.gmu.edu/facstaff/sexual/.

(XX) Center for Public Integrity, “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice,” (2009). Available at http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/campus_assault/

RCASA’s Friday Facts: College Campus Sexual Assault

In Education, Friday Facts, Outreach, Prevention, Sexual Assault Awareness on August 3, 2012 at 5:00 am

It is estimated that 20-25% of college women will be victims of an attempted or completed rape during their college careers. In 90% of college cases, the offender is known to the victim, usually a classmate, friend, or acquaintance. According to a report funded by the Department of Justice, roughly one in five women who attend college will become the victim of a rape or an attempted rape by the time she graduates.

Type of Victimization Percentage of Sample Rate per 1,000 students
Completed Rape 1.7% 16.6
Attempted Rape 1.1% 11.0
Threat of Rape 0.3% 3.0
Completed Sexual Coercion 1.7% 16.6
Attempted Sexual Coercion 1.3% 13.5
Completed Sexual Contact 3.7% 31
Attempted Sexual Contact 5.0% 49.9


  • Of the women who had experienced events that fit the legal definition of rape, 46.5% described their victimization as rape.
  • For both completed and attempted rapes, about 9 in 10 offenders were known to the victim, usually a classmate, friend or acquaintance.
  • Fewer than 5% of completed and attempted rapes were reported to law enforcement officials, though the victim did tell another person about the incident in about two-thirds of cases.

As the data suggest, sexual assault and other forms of coercive sexual behavior are part of college life for a substantial number of young women.  The presence of sexual violence is a source of concern for the entire community, and has a grave impact on the affected person’s psychosocial development, intellectual maturation, and identity formation.

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