Growing up is something many people experience in college. But for some, it can be traumatic. Unfortunately, it’s not rare for someone to experience sexual assault. There have been sexual assault reports from all across the country. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, sexual assault is, “sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim,” which includes oral sex and unwanted sexual touching. Perpetrators may use psychological manipulation or threats to force themselves onto the victim. Sometimes, the perpetrator can be family or close to family. According to RAINN, 2/3 of sexual assaults are committed by someone known or close to the victim. This is often also known as acquaintance rape or date rape. Otherwise it is often a stranger.
According to the Campus Sexual Violence Resource List, an estimated 20-25% of women are sexually abused throughout their four years of college, with 9 out of 10 knowing their perpetrator. “35% of attempted rapes, and 22.9% of threatened rapes happened during a date” (RAINN). Also, a woman living in a sorority house is three times more at risk of getting sexually assaulted than a woman living in the dorm rooms. This is because of sorority and fraternity interaction.
It is important that this information be released to up and coming college freshmen. When interviewing Paola Tejeda, an Academy senior, about how she would handle this situation, she said she would fight as hard as she could to avoid any harm to herself. “If I were to be sexually assaulted, whether I was raped or not, I would never keep it to myself. I would immediately go to the police or campus security.” Tejeda also joked, saying, “If a guy were to try anything, I would emotionally scar him into never doing it to anyone ever again. He’d never live it down. I’d warn other girls, too.” The West Virginia University Student Center of Health has an entire page of tips for preventing sexual assault. While at a party, stick with your friends and avoid sharing or accepting drinks from strangers. Hold on to your drink at all times or get a new one if you’ve lost sight of your drink for even one second. When it comes to dating, avoid secluded places, know your limits and trust your instincts. If you feel something’s off, you have the right to leave. Keep in mind that date rape isn’t always avoidable. Signs to look out for in your relationship include extreme jealousy and intimidation. Always be aware of the kind of person you are dating. If he has a history of violence, this should be a concern.
As Academy seniors leave home to start college in the fall, it is important to know the sad truth about rape on college campuses in order to keep this from being their reality. Since it is reported more often these days, there will hopefully be more security and a greater understanding of issues surrounding rape in college and how to avoid it.
Written by Maria Alvarado
Photo Credits to Rampage