Tuesday, May 5, 2015

14: College Rape Awareness - Protect Yourself from Harm

The path to success can be sidetracked if you do not, if at all possible, avoid one of the largest risks in college – being raped or becoming a rapist.

Your ability to succeed in college, business, or life may be severely impacted by a single wrong decision, which leads to harm to you or you committing a severe harm on someone else.  Given the severity of the physical and emotional consequences of rape, and its frequency on college campuses, the following information is provided in hopes that your success in life will not become side-tracked by a severe error in judgment or by being present in a situation where rape is more likely to occur.
Almost 25 percent of college women “have been victims of rape or attempted rape since the age of 14” according to a recent Department of Justice study.  [Rana Sampson, “Acquaintance Rape of College Students”, U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, available at http://cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/e03021472.pdf’]
College students are most at risk for sexual abuse and rape during the first six weeks of college, because they are adjusting to a new environment and are more vulnerable.  Ninety percent of women who are victims know the perpetrator, according to the Department of Justice study.
A lot of rapes are alcohol-related.  Alcohol impairs judgment and consent cannot be given if someone is intoxicated.  Be mindful of your alcohol consumption at all times.  And, as an extra measure of safety, always stay in groups and always leave a party with the people you came with.  Sometimes being safe means pulling your friend away “kicking and screaming” from a party where he or she may think they are making unimpaired decisions, but you know they are not.  It would be better to have your friend mad at you the next morning than assaulted, raped, or killed.  Rape is an act of violence, which can lead to assault or murder.  Remember, there is a difference between being a friend and being a bystander.  And – even if the person is not your friend - don’t be afraid to get involved if you see a bad situation happening.
Only about 5 percent of women report their rape to the police, according to the study. But, two-thirds of victims will tell someone about the incident, whether that person is a friend, counselor, or someone else.    If something does happen to a friend, listen to him or her.  Tell them you appreciate their trust in sharing their story with you.  Telling the survivor, “I believe you” is probably the most sincere thing you can do for them.  Ask them what you can do to help them get through this.
If you are a man who is at some point tempted to take advantage of an intoxicated woman (or vice versa), consider this: You are harming that person forever.  And, if you are really a good person who made such an extreme error in judgment, your guilt over the incident will follow you wherever you go, no matter how you try to right your wrong.


UPDATE: MAY 21, 2015: This appeared on the Education Advisory Board's Daily Briefing.
(Note: the identity of the school at question is unknown. The author's guess is that similar statistics are likely to occur at most residential colleges.)

At one school, nearly 20% of women say they were sexually assaulted as freshmen
Study suggests 'epidemic' of campus rape, researchers say

Almost one in five female freshmen say they were raped or the victims of attempted rape during their first year at college, according to a new study of nearly 500 first-year women at an unnamed university in New York state.

The study, conducted by Brown University researchers, was published online this week in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The findings relied on self-reported data, Alexandra Sifferlin writes at TIME magazine:

  • The women filled out four questionnaires, roughly every three months, across the first year they arrived on campus.
  • During the course of the study, about 9% of the women reported that they were victims of attempted or completed forcible rape.
  • About 15% of the women also reported that they were the victims of attempted or completed incapacitated rape involving drugs and alcohol.

The study's authors say the findings suggest that campus rape has reached "epidemic" levels.

"We find that the likelihood of incapacitated rape compared with forcible rape is higher in college than in the community," said lead author Kate Carey, comparing the new findings with previous reports.

Freshmen are especially susceptible because "it's "a big period of transition," Carey told HealthDay. "Many are moving away from home and establishing new social and living arrangements. We knew that was a period of time when health behaviors get shaken up, and opportunities as well as risks present themselves."

The findings are likely to stir continued conversation over the prevalence of sexual assault on campus.

"With its relatively small sample size, the survey doesn't promise to end an ongoing debate over the prevalence of campus rape," Washington Post reporter Abby Ohlheiser writes. "Researchers have had difficulty collecting authoritative data on national sexual assault rates for several reasons, including the reluctance of some victims to report assaults to law enforcement" (Carey et al., Journal of Adolescent Health, June 2015; Sifferlin, TIME, 5/20; Ohlheiser, "Grade Point," Washington Post, 5/20; Thompson, HealthDay, 5/20). 

Your Assignments:
  • Then read the following article, reproduced below with permission from the author: Acquaintance Rape of College Students,” Guide No. 17 (2002) by Rana Sampson.
  • After watching the video and reading the article below, then write a short essay in your journal. Will you use more caution in the future? Will you encourage your friends to use more caution? Are you more likely to intervene to prevent an occurrence of date rape?

[The following excerpts are reprinted courtesy of Rana Sampson and the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. The full version of this guide is available at http://www.popcenter.org/problems/pdfs/Acquaintance_Rape_of_College_Students.pdf]

The Problem of Acquaintance Rape of College Students
Rape is the most common violent crime on American college campuses today.  This guide describes the problem of acquaintance rape of college students, addressing its scope, causes, and contributing factors. Other related problems not directly addressed by this guide include: stranger rape; drug-induced rape; sexual assault other than rape (e.g., sexual battery); use of verbal coercion to obtain sexual intercourse; "peeping Toms" on college campuses; abuse in college dating relationships (including violence other than sexual victimization); and stalking of college students.
Scope of the Problem
"Women ages 16 to 24 experience rape at rates four times higher than the assault rate of all women," making the college (and high school) years the most vulnerable for women. College women are more at risk for rape and other forms of sexual assault than women the same age but not in college. It is estimated that almost 25 percent of college women have been victims of rape or attempted rape since the age of 14.
Rape rates vary to some extent by school, type of school and region, suggesting that certain schools and certain places within schools are more rape-prone than others. Some features of the college environment—frequent unsupervised parties, easy access to alcohol, single students living on their own, and the availability of private rooms— may contribute to high rape rates of women college students.
College women are raped at significantly higher rates than college men. College men are more likely to report experiencing unwanted kissing or fondling than intercourse. College men are usually raped by other men. However, since so few men report these incidents, information is limited about the extent of the problem. Even the current national data collection systems fail to capture information about rape of men; the FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) does not provide data on male rape victims. Researchers have begun to fill this information gap with survey data, which suggest that up to 10 percent of acquaintance rape victims on campus are men. Since so little information is available about acquaintance rape of college men, this guide focuses on college women.
The most recent large-scale study, including students at both two- and four-year colleges, found 35 rapes per 1,000 female students over seven months (rape was defined as "unwanted completed penetration by force or threat of force"). Based on this study, a college with 10,000 women students could experience 350 rapes a year. This conflicts with official college data. In 1999, reported forcible and non-forcible sexual offenses totaled 2,469 incidents for all U.S. college campuses combined, underscoring the low levels of rape reporting. Stranger rape of college students is less common than acquaintance rape. Ninety percent of college women who are victims of rape or attempted rape know their assailant. The attacker is usually a classmate, friend, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, or other acquaintance (in that order). Most acquaintance rapes do not occur on dates; rather, they occur when two people are otherwise in the same place (e.g., at a party, studying together in a dorm room). Thus, "date rape" (rape that occurs during or at the end of a date) is not the appropriate term to describe the majority of acquaintance rapes of college women, as date rapes account for only 13 percent of college rapes (although they make up 35 percent of attempted rapes). Gang rape of college women (multiple men taking turns raping a woman) is also a problem, although to a lesser extent than even date rape.
Victim Underreporting
Fewer than 5 percent of college women who are victims of rape or attempted rape report it to police. However, about two-thirds of the victims tell someone, often a friend (but usually not a family member or college official). In one study, over 40 percent of those raped who did not report the incident said they did not do so because they feared reprisal by the assailant or others. In addition, some rape victims may fear the emotional trauma of the legal process itself. Low reporting, however, ensures that few victims receive adequate help, most offenders are neither confronted nor prosecuted, and colleges are left in the dark about the extent of the problem.
Many acquaintance rape victims (using the legal definition of rape) do not label their assault as rape. Perhaps it seems unimaginable that an acquaintance would rape them, and victims often initially blame themselves. Acquaintance rape victims offer a range of reasons for not reporting the rape to authorities:
·         Embarrassment and shame
·         Fear of publicity,
·         Fear of reprisal from the assailant,
·         Fear of social isolation from the assailant's friends,
·         Fear that the police will not believe them,
·         Fear that the prosecutor will not believe them or will not bring charges,
·         Self-blame for drinking or using drugs before the rape, and being alone with the assailant, perhaps in one's own or the assailant's residence,
·         Mistrust of the campus judicial system, and
·         Fear that their family will find out.
Types of Acquaintance Rape
In examining the problem of acquaintance rape of college students (which, as noted, accounts for 90 percent of college rapes), it is important to define the sub-problems for analysis, investigation, and prevention purposes. Among them are:
·         Party rape (can also include gang rape),
·         Date rape (usually takes place in the victim's or offender's residence or in a car after the date),
·         Rape in a non-party and non-date situation (e.g., while studying together),
·         Rape by a former intimate, and
·         Rape by a current intimate.
In each case, the offender's behavior before the attack and the contributing environmental factors during the attack may be different. For instance, the typical party rape occurs at an off-campus house or fraternity house and involves the offender's plying a woman with alcohol and/or drugs, or targeting an intoxicated woman. Environmental factors that could facilitate the rape include easy access to alcohol, availability of a private room, loud music that drowns out the woman's calls, and, potentially, a cover-up by the house's residents who may choose to maintain group secrecy over reporting the rape. By contrast, a date rape typically involves two people who are just becoming acquainted and the offender rapes the woman in a car or residence after the date. In contrast, stranger rapes tend to occur in isolated areas of campus (e.g., parking lots or campus garages) or in the woman's dorm room. In these cases, the victim usually has not drunk any alcohol and there is no prior relationship or acquaintance between the victim and the rapist.
In addition, there are patterns regarding time (temporal), place (geographic), victim injuries, victim resistance, fear of rape, psychological harm to victims, and attitudes about acquaintance rape. These patterns are outlined below.
Temporal Patterns
College students are the most vulnerable to rape during the first few weeks of the freshman In fact, the first few days of the freshman year are the riskiest, limiting the value of any rape prevention programs that begin after that. Research has shown that rapes of college women tend to occur after 6 p.m., and the majority occur after midnight.
Geographic Patterns
Thirty-four percent of completed rapes and 45 percent of attempted rapes take place on campus. Almost 60 percent of the completed campus rapes that take place on campus occur in the victim's residence, 31 percent occur in another residence, and 10 percent occur in a fraternity.
Victim Resistance
Slightly more than 50 percent of college rape and attempted rape victims use force against their assailant and 50 percent tell the person to stop. Most victims try to stop a rape by using force, telling the assailant to stop, screaming, begging, or running away.
Fear of Rape
The fear of rape is widespread among college women, although they fear stranger rape more than acquaintance rape, even though the latter is much more common. College women—even those aware of acquaintance rape's pervasiveness—take more precautions to guard against stranger rape even if they have been a victim of acquaintance rape.
Psychological Harm to Victims
Acquaintance rape victims suffer the same psychological harms as stranger-rape victims: shock, humiliation, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, loss of self-esteem, social isolation, anger, distrust of others, fear of AIDS, guilt, and sexual dysfunction. College acquaintance rape victims face additional consequences. Many drop out of school because, if they stay, they might regularly face their attacker in class, in their dorm, in the dining hall, or at campus functions and events. Since most victims do not report, colleges cannot intervene to protect them from reencountering their attackers.
Societal Attitudes about Acquaintance Rape
During the 1990s, researchers found that attitudes about acquaintance rape victims improved. However, in general, college students, campus administrators, police, prosecutors, judges, and juries still overwhelmingly view and treat acquaintance rape less seriously than stranger rape, sustaining the myth that stranger rape is "real rape," while acquaintance rape is less serious and less harmful. College studies still find that many people on campus, both men and women, have little understanding of acquaintance rape because, as discussed below, it is a much more complex crime than stranger rape.
Rape myths allow us to believe that a "real rape" is one in which a victim is raped by a stranger who jumps out of the bushes with a weapon, and that the victim fought back, was beaten, and injured, then reported the event to the police, and had medical evidence collected immediately. In a "real rape," the victim has never had sex with the assailant before, is preferably a virgin, was not intoxicated, was not wearing seductive clothing, and has a good reputation. Unfortunately, acquaintance sexual assaults contain few, if any, of those elements. In many acquaintance rape situations, the victim had been drinking, did voluntarily go with the man to his apartment or room, was not threatened with a weapon, did not fight back, did not report the event to the police immediately, did not have medical evidence collected, and may have even had sex with the assailant voluntarily before.
Risk Factors Associated With Acquaintance Rape
Understanding the factors that contribute to the problem will help you frame your own local analysis questions, determine good effectiveness measures, recognize key intervention points, and select appropriate responses.
Acquaintance rape is less random and more preventable than stranger rape. A woman's condition or behavior does not cause rape, but certain factors appear to increase a woman's vulnerability to it:
·         Frequently drinking enough to get drunk;
·         Drinking to the point of being unable to resist forceful sexual advances;
·         Using drugs and/or drinking (both the victim and the assailant);
·         Having previously been the victim of sexual assault before the start of the school year;
·         Being single;
·         Engaging in social activities with sexually predatory men;
·         Being at an isolated site;
·         Miscommunicating about sex; and
·         Holding less conservative attitudes about sexual behavior.

Repeat Victimization
Numerous studies of campus rape have found that a small number of victims are repeat victims. One of the largest studies to date found that 22.8 percent of college rape victims had been victimized before. College women most at risk of rape are those who were previously victims of childhood or teen sexual assault. Prior victims are nearly twice as likely to be raped in college than those with no previous history of sexual assault. "Adolescent/young adult victimization is the most robust risk factor for victimization in the college years, and victimization in one semester predicts victimization in the following semester." Some researchers believe that college men can sense out women who are less able to defend themselves, or target women whose behavior (e.g., binge drinking) weakens their credibility.
Repeat Offending
It is unknown how many college rapists are repeat offenders. Most college acquaintance rapists go unpunished (in part because reporting is so low), so the number of serial offenses are difficult to determine. However, one study found that 96 college men accounted for 187 rapes, 45 suggesting that further research may establish that serial rapists are a common component of the acquaintance rape problem. Lack of reporting complicates the problem, since it may prevent colleges from identifying and ridding themselves of their most dangerous students.
Why Some College Men Rape
In studies during the early 1980s and 1990s, approximately one-third of college men reported they would rape a woman if they knew they would not get caught. Given the number of college women raped, researchers have tried to explain the problem's prevalence. Some men have stereotypic views of women's sexual behavior. In light of the high number of rapes, researchers believe that rape is not the product of psychopathic behavior; rather it is the product of mainstream beliefs about women's role in sexual situations. For example, many men are socialized to believe that women initially resist sexual advances to preserve their reputation and, because of this, prefer to be overcome sexually. If a woman says no, a man is to proceed as if she said yes.  In addition, some men believe that if a woman is a "tease" or "loose," she is asking for sex. If she then claims rape, she changed her mind after the fact. Such men generally believe that most rapes are false reports.
Some college men have sexist attitudes and seek sexual conquests. Some men simply do not care about women's feelings. "They have learned that what counts, in the popular sports term invariably adopted… is that they 'score.'"
Some men see alcohol as a tool for sexual conquest. While alcohol use does not cause rape, "alcohol abuse is strongly related to the abuse of women." In addition, many college men may be unaware that having sex with someone who is drunk constitutes rape.
Some men receive peer support for sexually abusive behavior. Sexually abusive men often are friends with and loyal to other sexually abusive men and get peer support for their behavior, fostering and legitimizing it.  During the 1980s and 1990s, a series of rapes in fraternity houses, and subsequent cover-ups by fraternity members, suggested to researchers that certain all-male living arrangements foster unhealthy environments conducive to rape.”
Alcohol's Role in Acquaintance Rape
Alcohol appears to play a large role in acquaintance rape, although it is not the cause. Research indicates that in over three-quarters of college rapes, the offender, the victim, or both had been drinking. Researchers provide several explanations for alcohol's presence in so many rapes:
  • "Men view the world in a more sexualized manner than women do and, consequently, are more likely than women to interpret ambiguous cues as evidence of sexual intent."
  • Some studies have found that men (more so than women) view certain cues as evidence that a woman  is interested in having sex, such as her wearing revealing clothing, agreeing to a secluded date location such as the man's room or the beach, drinking alcohol, complimenting the man during the date, and tickling the man (Abbey 1991).
  • Alcohol increases misperceptions because it reduces a person's capacity to analyze complex stimuli. Alcohol (and drug) use increases the risk that men and women will misinterpret messages between them.
  • Some men believe in stereotypes about women and drinking. Some men believe that women who drink are more sexually available than those who do not.
  • Some men use alcohol as a justification or an excuse. Some men use alcohol to justify or excuse acting out, misbehaving, or committing a crime.
  • Alcohol causes poor sending and receiving of friendly and sexual cues. "While drinking alcohol, a woman may not notice her date's persistent attempts to get her into an isolated location or encourage her to consume even more alcohol." In one study, "three-quarters of the acknowledged date rapists interviewed...said that they sometimes got women drunk in order to increase the likelihood of having sex with them."
  • In one study, researchers found that women did not see being alone with a man and drinking as putting them at risk. Women tended to appropriately estimate the risk to others, but not to themselves, perhaps because on prior occasions being alone with a man and drinking did not result in rape. The researchers found that women drinkers believed they could drink a lot before being at increased risk for sexual aggression (Norris, Nurius and Graham 1999).
  • Alcohol decreases a women's ability to resist rape. Alcohol slows motor functions, reducing the likelihood that a woman can verbally or physically resist a rapist.
  • Research has found that when alcohol or drugs are involved in acquaintance rape—which is frequently the case—peers tend to hold women more responsible for the rape and men less responsible for it.
Athletic Teams, Fraternities, and Acquaintance Rape
College athletes are disproportionately reported to campus judicial officers for acquaintance rape.  It is unclear whether they actually offend more or whether students tend to report them more (perhaps angered by athletes' esteemed and privileged status). On some campuses, revenue-generating athletes (usually football and basketball players) may believe they are immune to campus rules (and sometimes are) and therefore take advantage of "groupies" or other women they perceive as sexually interested in them.
As for fraternities, a disproportionate number of documented gang rapes involve fraternity members. Research on reported gang rapes committed by college students from 1980 to 1990 found that fraternity members committed 55 percent of them. Fraternities often have a unique place on campus; they are typically housed in private residences (with many private rooms) and hold large unsupervised parties, often with free-flowing alcohol. Some fraternity members approve of getting a woman drunk to have sex. This, combined with some fraternities' emphasis on loyalty above identifying members who rape, has put fraternities in the center of controversy because a disproportionate number of reported rapes occur on their property. A number of researchers believe that certain fraternities, because of their practices, are more rape-prone than others placing sorority members (and other women attendees at fraternity parties) at a greater risk of rape. Some researchers also believe that binge drinking makes certain fraternities at a high risk for committing rape. Many national Greek organizations now require education for their local chapters concerning sexual assault and alcohol consumption, and some now mandate "dry" houses.

Dr. Ron A. Rhoades is an Asst. Professor of Finance at Western Kentucky University's Gordon Ford College of Business, where he chairs the (B.S. Finance) Financial Planning Program. An innovative, passionate teacher, he is the author of Choose to Succeed in College and in Life: Continously Improve, Persevere, and Enjoy the Journey (2014)from which many of these blog posts are derived.

Dr. Rhoades also serves as a consultant to the Garrett Planning Network, a nationwide network of independent, Fee-Only financial planners making competent, objective financial advice accessible to all people. He is the author of several books, dozens of articles, and he is a frequent speaker at financial planning and investments conferences. He is the recipient of many awards for his advocacy on behalf of the fiduciary standard. Dr. Rhoades is also a member of The Florida Bar, and he practices estate planning and transfer taxation for select current clients.

Dr. Rhoades and his wife, Cathy, reside in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

No comments:

Post a Comment