Most rapes committed by acquaintances

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one-in-six American women will be raped in their lifetime. Approximately 92,700 men are raped each year in the U.S. and two-thirds of victims reported that they had a prior relationship with the offender.

The University Police Department (UPD) Web site defines rape/sexual assault as “the subjection of another person to any sexual act against that person’s will, without one’s consent, whether forcible or non-forcible. It may be coerced through force or threats of force or with someone who is unconscious, or someone who is incapable of giving consent.”

Sexual assault includes rape, harassment, stalking or the threatening of sexual assaults toward another person.

Deb Johnson, senior counselor at Student Health and Counseling Services, said that in one week she has had at least two people come in to be counseled for some type of sexual assault, including men and women. Most of the time the sexual offense is performed by someone the person knows. It is not always a boyfriend or girlfriend, but is often an acquaintance or someone they trust, Johnson said.

“Often times alcohol is involved in a sexual assault,” said Johnson. “When it is involved, the chance of assault is greater. It often occurs when alcohol is mixed with the date rape drug (Rohypnol).”

Parties happen at college, but the important thing to remember is that when you go to a party, stick with your friends, Johnson said. You have a lower chance of being attacked if you have your friends around you. This goes for men and women.

“When I was attacked, I remember smelling the alcohol on him. It was obvious he was totally drunk,” said one anonymous victim. “I thought people might not believe me because I was drinking too, but my friends and family were very supportive of me though.”

If a student reports a sexual offense to the UPD, the UPD along with the Dean of Student Affairs launch an investigation. The accused may be temporarily suspended depending upon the circumstances.

“I thought that UPD handled the situation fairly delicately,” said another anonymous victim. “They did ask me one question that was really uncomfortable; I was kind of angry with that officer.”

Student Health and Counseling Services, located in West Hall, has multiple options to help victims of sexual assault cope. They provide group and private counseling sessions for victims. They currently have three counselors and they provide a group session called “Learning to Trust.” Victims do need to have private sessions first, they need to be really ready before they go to group session, said Johnson.

Brookings has a Domestic Abuse Shelter that will shelter any woman who feels she is in danger. Victims are encouraged to seek medical attention at SDSU Student Health Services, Brookings Hospital or Brookings Medical Clinic.

The number of rapes per year has steadily decreased. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the number of rapes/sexual assaults has fallen by over 69 percent since 1993.