Classic Signals: Rape awareness

Every week, Features Editor Lily Firth hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

Rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment are still problems on all college campuses, especially with regard to alcohol-related incidents. While colleges and universities have worked to raise awareness for rape and increase education about how to identify and stop a potential sexual assault, these efforts have failed to completely eliminate sexual assault on college campuses. In 1991, students advocated for better rape awareness programs.

Rape is still a prevalent issue on all college campuses. (Photo courtesy of the TCNJ Digital Archive)

Counselors report the first few weeks of school to be the time when a woman is in the most danger of being raped.

What constitutes an act of rape? Rape is nonconsensual sexual intercourse between two persons, usually accompanied by force or intimidation. Because the legal definition of rape is based on the notion of consent, any sexual contact with a person who is too drunk to be capable of giving consent is technically also a crime.

According to Dr. Mary Kossa, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Arizona, who conducted a comprehensive study on date rape on college campuses, one in nine college women have been raped and 80% knew their attacker, while less than five percent reported the crime.

If 11% of women in college are raped, there could be 330 victims of rape at Trenton State College. Although this is only an estimate based on a study of other colleges, the possibility that there could be 330 victims implies that action is needed to address the problem of rape.

If 80% of the victims knew their attacker it can be implied that it is possible for anybody to be a rapist. Studies show that the major motives in rape are aggression, anger and hostility, not sex. The rapist desires to exert power over his victim.

Clearly, rape is a tremendously serious problem, no matter how infrequently it is reported or occurs. To begin to solve the problem of rape, we need to address it as a community.

The intense emotional trauma victims suffer affects relationships and the ability to enjoy life.

Victims of rape are forced to confront so many emotions after an incident; such as shame and a loss of pride and hope. Victims often tell of how attacks leave their lives full of hate, anger and worst of all, guilt.

Rape is a personal crime and every time an innocent woman is victimized, we all need to be personally infuriated.

Yet there are ways to start to eliminate the potential for rape as well as rape itself from our community. Since men commit 98.6% of the reported rapes in the United States, men need to take an active leadership role in preventing this devastating crime from happening.

Kossa’s study found that one in twelve college men, responding to a survey, admitted committing acts that meet the legal definition of rape or attempted rape, yet only one percent who could be the girl next door, your sister, or your girlfriend.

The study also discovered that 50% of rape victims and 75% of their attackers had been drinking before the rape occurred. Because alcohol is a large factor in rape cases and is a large factor of college life, precautions need to be taken.

For example, a student should never go to a party unless she is with a group of friends who will watch out for her. Also, creating a floor phone list and using it to get out of uncomfortable or high-risk situations could make a difference.

In addition, TSC has an escort service (x2167) that can transport students anywhere on the campus at night. But all this is not enough.

The administration and the Office of the Dean of Student Life should expand their efforts and implement a comprehensive plan to battle rape at TSC. If we truly believe in diversity, our vision needs to increase its emphasis on women. We have to generate a greater understanding between women and men.

In terms of education, TSC should incorporate rape awareness into the program of “Welcome Week” and College Seminar to ensure that all TSC students will be given the knowledge to protect themselves from being victims. Finally, whether you are a student, a professor, or an administrator, each of us, as members of a community, must take up arms in this battle. What will you do to make our campus safe from rape?

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