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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Aquaintance Rape of College Students

The Department of Justice has a study dealing with rape in college.

Some of the excerpts of the report are interesting

Acquaintance Rape of College Students
Rana Sampson

The Problem of Acquaintance Rape of College Students

• embarrassment and shame,

• fear of publicity,

• fear of reprisal from assailant,

• fear of social isolation from the assailant's friends,

• fear that the police will not believe them,

• fear that the prosecutor will not believe them or will not bring charges,

• self-blame for drinking or using drugs before the rape,

• self-blame for being alone with the assailant, perhaps in one's own or the assailant's residence,

• mistrust of the campus judicial system, and

• fear that their family will find out.

Some police officers believe that there is an unusually high rate of false rape reports (by both college students and the general population of women). The FBI does not separately track false reports; it tracks only the total number of unfounded reports. The category of "unfounded" consists of both baseless cases–in which the elements of the crime were never met–and false reports.

In 1998, unfounded rape reports accounted for 8 percent of total reported rapes; however, this number is questionable. Some police officers incorrectly think that a rape report is unfounded or false if any of the following conditions apply:

• the victim has a prior relationship with the offender (including having previously been intimate with him);

• the victim used alcohol or drugs at the time of the assault;

• there is no visible evidence of injury;

• the victim delays disclosure to the police and/or others and does not undergo a rape medical exam; and/or

• the victim fails to immediately label her assault as rape and/or blames herself.

For more detailed information about unfounded allegations and the need for accurate training on this subject, see uments/Investigate/acquaintSA.asp.
e06031987.qxd 8/7/2003 12:09 PM Page 5
Page 18

Victim Underreporting

Fewer than 5 percent of college women who are victims of rape or attempted rape report it to police.

Types of Acquaintance Rape

In examining the problem of acquaintance rape of college students (which, as noted, accounts for 90 percent of college rapes), it is important to define the subproblems for analysis, investigation and prevention purposes. Among them are:

• party rape (can also include gang rape);

• date rape (usually takes place in the victim's or offender's residence or in a car after the date);

• rape in a non-party and non-date situation (e.g., while studying together);

• rape by a former intimate; and

• rape by a current intimate.

In each case, the offender's behavior before the attack and the contributing environmental factors during the attack may be different. †

For instance, the typical party rape occurs at an off-campus house or on- or off-campus fraternity and involves the offender's plying a woman with alcohol or targeting an intoxicated woman. Environmental factors that could facilitate the rape include easy access to alcohol, availability of a private room, loud music that drowns out the woman's calls, and, potentially, a cover-up by the house's residents, who may choose to maintain group secrecy over reporting the rape. By contrast, a date rape typically involves two people who are just becoming acquainted, and the offender rapes the woman in a car or residence after the date. [Stranger rapes tend to occur in isolated areas of campus (e.g., parking lots or campus garages) or in the woman's dorm room. In these cases, the victim usually has not drunk any alcohol, and there is no prior relationship or even acquaintance between the victim and the rapist.]

Psychological Harm to Victims
Acquaintance rape victims suffer the same psychological harms as stranger-rape victims: shock, humiliation, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, loss of self-esteem, social isolation, anger, distrust of others, fear of AIDS, guilt, and sexual dysfunction.

College acquaintance rape victims face additional consequences. Many drop out of school because, if they stay, they might regularly face their attacker in class, in their dorm, in the dining hall, or at campus functions and events. Since most victims do not report, colleges cannot intervene to protect them from reencountering their attackers.

The Problem of Acquaintance Rape of College Students
Societal Attitudes About Acquaintance Rape

During the 1990s, researchers found that attitudes about acquaintance rape victims improved. However, in general, college students, campus administrators, police, prosecutors, judges, and juries still overwhelmingly view and treat acquaintance rape less seriously than stranger rape, sustaining the myth that stranger rape is "real rape," while acquaintance rape is less serious and less harmful. College studies still find that many on campus, both men and women, have little understanding of acquaintance rape because, as discussed below, it is a much more complex crime than stranger rape.

Rape myths allow us to believe that a "real rape" is one in which a victim is raped by a stranger who jumps out of the bushes with a weapon, and in which she fought back, was beaten and bruised, reported the event to the police, and had medical evidence collected immediately. In a "real rape," the victim has never had sex with the assailant before, is preferably a virgin, was not intoxicated, was not wearing seductive clothing, and has a good reputation.…Unfortunately, acquaintance sexual assaults contain few, if any, of those elements. In many acquaintance rape situations, the victim had been drinking, did voluntarily go with the man to his apartment or room, was not threatened with a weapon, did not fight back, did not report the event to the police immediately, did not have medical evidence collected, and may have even had sex with the assailant voluntarily before.

Repeat Offending

It is unknown how many college rapists are repeat offenders. Most college acquaintance rapists go unpunished (in part because reporting is so low), so the number of serial offenses are difficult to determine. However, one study found that 96 college men accounted for 187 rapes, suggesting that further research may establish that serial rapists are a common component of the acquaintance rape problem. Lack of reporting complicates the problem, since it may prevent colleges from identifying and ridding themselves of their most dangerous students.


Athletic Teams, Fraternities and Acquaintance Rape
College athletes are disproportionately reported to campus judicial officers for acquaintance rape.
It is unclear whether they actually offend more, or whether students tend to report them more (perhaps angered by athletes' esteemed and privileged status). On some campuses, revenue-generating athletes (usually football and basketball players) may believe they are immune to campus rules (and sometimes are), and take advantage of "groupies" or other women they perceive as sexually interested in them.
As for fraternities, a disproportionate number of documented gang rapes involve fraternity members. Research on reported gang rapes committed by college students from 1980 to 1990 found that fraternity members committed 55 percent of them.
Fraternities often have a unique place on campus; they are typically housed in private residences (with many private rooms) and hold large unsupervised parties, often with free-flowing alcohol. Some fraternity members approve of getting a woman drunk to have sex. This, combined with some fraternities' emphasis on loyalty above identifying members who rape, has put fraternities in the center of controversy because a disproportionate number of reported rapes occur on their property. A number of researchers believe that certain fraternities, because of their practices, are more rape- prone than others, placing sorority members (and other frequent women attendees at fraternity parties) at greater

Humphrey and Kahn (2000) found that college women correctly identify the campus fraternities and athletic teams that are high risk and low risk for rape, based on the type of parties they have had.
Keep in mind, according to the DOJ,

*between 92 and 98 percent of rape complaints are valid.

* Most coed rape victims remain silent because of fear and pressure

* party rapes often take place off campus, and those who live in the home often maintain

posted by Steve @ 3:31:00 AM

3:31:00 AM

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