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Campus Safety and Rape

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Most incidents of rape that happen on college campuses are perpetrated by someone the victim knows. It could be a classmate, a date (aka date rape), or even that nice guy that lives in your dorm down the hall.

Rape is a really hard thing to talk about.

But even though it’s hard, it’s better to discuss the issue than to sweep it under the rug. If people don’t talk about it, then rapists are protected by the silence. And, only by talking about it can you figure out ways to avoid dangerous situation or what you can do if it happens to you.

According to the American Association of University Women, 20%–25% of college women are raped during their college years, and 65% of rapes go unreported. Alcohol is involved with 75% of the attacks.

Most incidents of rape that happen on college campuses are perpetrated by someone the victim knows. It could be a classmate, a date (aka date rape), or even that nice guy that lives in your dorm down the hall.

What to watch out for:

  • Never leave your drink unattended. Someone could drop a “date rape” drug in it, which makes it easy for you to lose consciousness and become unaware of what is going on around you.
  • Be conscientious when drinking alcohol, period. You don’t need to consume a drug-laced drink to make poor decisions. From it simply lowers your inhibitions or makes you totally lose control and black out, alcohol can turn any night out into a potentially dangerous situation.
  • If you are going to a party, buddy up with one of your friends. Promise to arrive and leave the party together, and have a meeting spot at the party where you check in with each other and make sure you are both alright.
  • Be careful at night. If you need to walk around campus at night, try to walk with a friend and take well-lit routes. If no one is available, you can ask campus security to walk you to your dorm.
  • Always carry some money on you. Have cash handy so you can hop into a taxi if you are somewhere you do not feel safe.

Yet, even when taking these precautions, you can still be sexually assaulted. This isn’t meant to scare you or make you paranoid. It’s meant to let you know it is not your fault if it happens. You are the victim.

If you are raped:

  • Get to a safe place as quickly as possible. Call a family member or a friend.
  • Even if you feel dirty, don’t shower or bathe. Don’t change your clothes. They could have incriminating evidence on them.
  • Call the police or campus security. Reporting the incident might be hard but it will prevent the offender from doing it again to another women. Tell them all the details that you remember.
  • Get medical attention. Go to the nearest emergency room or the campus health center. You will be treated for injuries and tested for venereal diseases and pregnancy. Physical specimens and evidence will be collected in order to insure a successful prosecution of the offender.
  • Seek counseling. Even if you don’t want to report the rape to the police, counseling will help you with emotional trauma so that you don’t blame yourself or feel guilty, ashamed, or scared. It is an important way to start the healing process, and campus counselors are trained to help rape victims. Remember, rape is never the victim’s fault.

If you’ve been sexually assaulted, know that you are not alone. Talking about rape on campus is the first step. 

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