TEEN SOUL POWER
A CRIME and a DISGRACE
One of the most horrific crimes to youth - especially on the college campus - is sexual assault. While predominantly it is male-on-female violence, it is not specifically contained to that. Somewhat rarer is male-on-male sexual violence, and female-on-male sexual violence.
Rape is the one crime of all crimes, that leaves a person feeling the most violated. This, perhaps is even more true with "date rape" or "acquaintance rape" when it is committed by a known and trusted friend or person you thought you knew - someone who would stand by you, only to betray your greatest confidence.
Rape victims are often left with the feeling that a part of them has been ripped apart. And because that feeling stays with them, the victim may have a sense that the crime is continuously occurring. One victim wrote that, "To use another person's body and ignore the soul that resides within is the most egregious crime that one person can commit against another."
Nothing has the potential to destroy people more than this level and type of violation - sexual assault. It is so much more than just a crime, it is also a defilement, and a disgrace to the perpetrator.
It is the responsibility of everyone - youth, adults, friends and family, schools, colleges, law enforcement, and organizations and institutions to help deal with the issue of sexual assault - especially on the college campus. But it is also imperative to address the underlying cause(s) of sexual assault – and related issues, in a comprehensive manner for both prevention and awareness.
ALCOHOL: THE GREATEST WEAPON
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, each year more than 97,000 college students between the ages of 18-and-24 are victims of alcohol related sexual assault or date rape, where either the perpetrator, victim, or both are intoxicated.
As an aside, essentially, 95% of campus violence is alcohol related, 80% of college students have been affected by other students drinking, about 25 % of college students report academic consequences, and 11 % report they have damaged property under the influence of alcohol. Higher levels of alcohol use are also associated with unplanned or unprotected sexual activity among adolescents, and this poses increased risk for both teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
The culture of “drinking as recreation” on the college campus must be dealt with. Colleges and universities should address drinking in a firm, no nonsense manner, remembering first and foremost their responsibility is to provide an environment that fosters health, wellness and safety for its students. No other action could protect students more, than addressing the growing problem of drinking on the college campus - especially in fraternities and sororities!
Prevalence: 1 in 5 women (and 6.1% of males), are sexually assaulted during their college years
Risk Factors: A review of sexual assaults shows that the top Risk Factors are: alcohol and drug use, the number of sexual partners, any experienced emotional/physical abuse from the partner, the year in college, and Fraternity and Sorority party attendance.
Effects of Sexual Assault: Approximately 40% of rape survivors contract STIs; 1%-5% become pregnant (resulting in 32,000 rape-related pregnancies in the US every year); because of the emotional trauma survivors are 13 times more likely to attempt suicide; and the annual victim costs may be as high as $127 billion.
Reporting: Reporting is sexual abuse starting to increase after many years of silence. About 70% of survivors report confiding in a relative/friend; 16% reported that they contacted a victim’s, crisis, or health care center; and 13% reported to a law enforcement agency. A 2015 study says that still, only 20% of rape/sexual assaults were reported to authorities The primary reasons for not reporting sexual abuse includes avoidance of public disclosure, that victims are unsure there is sufficient evidence to prove the assault; to avoid further trauma and shame, and that there is a fear that insufficient action will be taken from the college administration or law enforcement agency (i.e., it is "not serious enough" to or unclear to them if a crime was committed and action should be taken.)
Characteristics of the Perpetrators: The perpetrators are most likely an acquaintance who has physically aggressive masculine traditional sex role beliefs, accepts interpersonal violence, and holds fraternity membership. They may likely be college men who participated in aggressive high school sports in contrast to men who did not, and more accepting of violence as a means of solving problems, and more sexist either in accepting stereotypes about women and sexuality or even in hostile toward women.
Undetected rapists are very likely to repeat rape and multiple offending among undetected rapists, and one study showed that fully 2/3rds of rapes were by repeat rapists.
For both men and women you need to examine the areas of your life which expose you to the danger - and/or temptation, of acquaintance rape.
In no way does this suggest that it is ever a woman's fault. Predators are predators. But by taking some precautions, for instance, like about being out late at night alone, you can still enjoy life and feel more secure while avoiding some of the greatest risk factors. Again, this applies to men as well as to women.
First and foremost, know that if your gut tells you the situation is not okay, you should leave as soon and as safely as you can. You don't need anyone else's permission, leave.
Second, when you're dating someone new, understand that "no" absolutely means "no", and don't ever let anyone make you feel guilty about knowing what you do and don't want. Don't be afraid to communicate your needs clearly and loudly, and if necessary - repeatedly.
Third, but perhaps most importantly, avoid alcohol and drugs that can incapacitate.
Remember that the first thing these substance do is to sedate the cognitive, thinking processes, and then, secondly, they enhance emotions and feelings and emotions can become greatly enhanced - exaggerated…. And can overwhelm common sense and normal behaviors. Stay clean, stay sober, stay healthy.
Fourth, do not place yourselves in a predicament that can endanger you. Examine your attitudes… are they sexist, misleading, confusing? Remember what parents said, "Keep safety foremost in thought - and behavior." A life may depend on it.
Perhaps, finally, a word to all men. No one has the right to abuse you, neither physically, verbally, or sexually, and you do not have the right to abuse anyone else. In this society, there is a strong emphasis on sexuality - for men and for women. It is reinforced every time you turn on the TV, buy a magazine, or see a movie. This is perhaps one of the last ways that remains uncivilized, through a sexist society where people disavow it yet continue to support it.
In this regard, it is important to be a real man - step up and remember "Don't Be That Guy" that people will talk about for the next 40 years!
HELP US STOP SEXUAL ASSAULT !