Did You Know? Sexual Assault on Campus

On January 30th, our Colgate bubble was popped. A number of students came to COVE Friday, both men and women, to discuss relationship abuse and violence on our campus.

At the meeting, someone brought to our attention something that really hit home: Did you know that there were eight reported rapes to Campus Safety just last semester? We contacted them repeatedly to verify this information, but they have yet to respond. Why are we hearing about this now, a whole semester later? This statistic is surprising since rape is one of the most under-reported crimes in the United States. Colgate University is not an exception. Just imagine how many instances of relationship abuse weren’t reported…

After learning about the reported rapes last semester, we decided to do a little research of our own. Here is some of what we learned (courtesy of http://www.crisisconnectioninc.org):

One in four women in college today has been the victim of rape, and nearly 90 percent of them knew their rapist.

60 percent of male college students “indicated some likelihood of raping or using force in certain circumstances.”

Every 21 hours there is another rape on an American college campus.

90 percent of all campus rapes occur under the influence of alcohol.

Of college women who are raped, only ten percent report the rape.

College women are most vulnerable to rape during the first few weeks of the freshman and sophomore years.

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 occur in the victim’s residence, 31 percent occur in another residence and 10 percent occur in a fraternity. 78 percent of the men identified as rapists were an acquaintance, friend or boyfriend of the victims.

We also looked at the Campus Safety Handbook hoping to find information about other reported rapes and sexual assaults, as well as information for assault victims. We found that in 2005 there were four reported sexual assaults; in 2006, two; and in 2007, two. The handbook has a section specifically designated for sexual assault awareness and it mentions that “all first year students are provided with information concerning” available resources for victims of sexual assault. These available resources include such groups as the Sexual Issues Group (SIG), the Sexual Consultation and Resource Center (SCRC) and Men Advocating for Change (MAC). Have any of you heard of these groups/places? We haven’t. We also found it quite shocking that a phone number wasn’t given for a rape hotline, and nothing was mentioned about getting a rape kit. Something else important that we learned during COVE Friday that wasn’t mentioned in this handbook is that when someone reports being sexually assaulted, an advocate meets the victim at the hospital to help her/him along the way.

All of these statistics and information are pointing to a Silence Epidemic: It is this very apathy that perpetuates these shockingly high statistics. This is happening at all colleges in the United States, and we on the Colgate campus are not an exception; we are not invincible. This article is where the silence stops.

Every week we are going to write a column on other important topics that directly affect us, but that may have been written off as taboo or unnecessary. The goal is to create safe and healthy discussion to keep us aware of our options and free from the harms of silence.

Feel free to e-mail us suggestions and ideas for our column. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call Victims of Violence: Liberty Resources, Inc. at (315) 366-5000 and Conant House at Colgate Counseling Services (315) 228-7385.