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Rape and Sexual Assault

Rape and sexual assault are defined as forced sexual intercourse (including vaginal, anal, and oral penetration). The penetration may be by a body part or an object. Rape may be forced through threats, physical force or psychological coercion. While some extreme cases of rape may involve the use or display or a weapon, physical battering, or immobilization of the victim most cases involve psychological coercion. There are three types of rape; date rape, acquaintance rape, and stranger rape. Acquaintance rape and date rape refer to rapes when the victim knows the attacker and account for 85% of all reported rapes. Stranger rape refers to rape by an unknown attacker and accounts for about 15% of all reported rapes.

Rape touches many women’s lives- one in three women will experience rape or sexual violence in their life time and young women between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than all other women.  Common reactions to rape include shock, numbness, loss of control, feelings of helplessness, fear, a sense of vulnerability, and feelings of self-blame or guilt for “letting” the crime happen. Some victims feel that these reactions are a sign of weakness but they are not and they are completely normal and okay.

Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Experts agree that available data greatly underestimate the prevalence of sexual assault in the United States. Rape is considered to be one of the most underreported crimes. In fact, it is estimated that upwards of 60% of sexual assaults go unreported. [i] Best estimates indicate that somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% of college students are victims of either attempted or completed rape.[ii]

The Effects of Sexual Assault and Rape

The consequences of sexual assault are numerous. Physically, women who are victims of sexual abuse are more likely to have sexually transmitted infections,[iii] chronic pelvic pain, premenstrual syndrome, gastrointestinal disorders, gynecological and pregnancy complications, migraines, back pain, and facial pain. In addition, an approximate 32,000 pregnancies per year are the result of rape.[iv] Psychologically, sexual assault victims suffer both short term consequences (shock, denial, fear, anxiety, and withdrawal, to name a few), and chronic consequences (depression, attempted or completed suicide, or post-traumatic stress disorder, for example).[v]-[vi]Socially, victims of sexual assault often experience strained relationships, less frequent contact with friends and relatives, and are less likely to get married.[vii]

Numerous studies have found that sexual assault is more likely to occur in the context of alcohol consumption. [viii] The Harvard School of Public Health, for example, conducted a survey which included students at approximately 120 colleges nationwide. Results indicated that approximately 4.7% of college women had been raped in the year preceding the survey, and that nearly three quarters of the assaults took place while the victim was intoxicated. Risk factors for sexual assault included being female, being less than 21 years of age, being white, residing in a sorority house, using illicit drugs, engaging in heavy alcohol consumption, and attending a college with a high rate of heavy drinking.[ix] Overall, nearly 80% of rape victims are women. In addition, nearly all perpetrators of sexual violence are males.[x]According to a large, national survey conducted by the Department of Justice, 100% of female rape victims were assaulted by men. Similarly, male rape victims are most likely to be victimized by male attackers. The same Department of Justice Survey found that 70% of male rapes were committed by male perpetrators. In a vast majority of cases (over 80%), the assault victim knows his or her attacker.[xi]

Studies have also demonstrated that students who report having been raped are significantly more likely to also report engaging in a wide range of health-risk behaviors.[xii]Specifically, individuals who have been sexually assaulted are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, choose unhealthy sexual partners, have multiple sexual partners, trade sex for material goods or money, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, drive under the influence, and take drugs.[xiii] In addition, individuals who have been assaulted are more likely to be victimized again in the future. [xiv]

Sexual Assault at Skidmore

During the 2005-2006 academic year, Skidmore campus safety did not receive a single report of sexual assault. However, data from the CORE Alcohol and Other Drug survey, completed by approximately 650 Skidmore students during the spring of 2006, indicated that 9% of male students and 13% of female students were taken advantage of sexually during the 2005-2006 academic year. Further, 1% of male students and 3% of female students reported that they were victims of rape during the year preceding the survey.

Safety

In general, students feel safe at Skidmore.

In general, students feel safe in Saratoga Springs.

Students indicated that they believe sexual assaults are more likely to occur OFF campus.

In reality, sexual assaults are significantly more likely to occur on campu.s 

Forced Touching

10% of students (13% of females and 5% of males) have been touched/fondled against their will while a student at Skidmore.

Attempted Rape

4.6% (6.4% of females and 1% of males) reported experienced attempted rape while a student at Skidmore.

Rape

2.3% (3.1% of females and <1% of males) reported that they had been raped while a student at Skidmore

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted

If a friend has been raped or sexually assaulted

To reduce your risk of rape

Noteworthy Programs


[i]Department of Justice. Criminal victimization 2002.Washington: Government Printing Office; 2003. Publication No. NCJ 199994. Available from URL: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/cv02.pdf.   

[ii]Fisher BS, Cullen FT, Turner MG. The sexual victimization of college women.Washington: Department of Justice (US), National Institute of Justice; 2000. Publication No. NCJ 182369.

[iii]Wingood G, DiClemente R, Raj A. Adverse consequences of intimate partner abuse among women in non-urban domestic violence shelters. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2000;19:270-5.

[iv]Holmes MM, Resnick HS, Kilpatrick DG, Best CL. Rape-related pregnancy: estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1996;175:320-4.

[v]Ackard DM, Neumark-Sztainer D. Date violence and date rape among adolescents: associations with disordered eating behaviors and psychological health. Child Abuse and Neglect 2002;26(5):455-73.

[vi]Faravelli C, Giugni A, Salvatori S, Ricca V. Psychopathology after rape. American Journal of Psychiatry 2004;161(8):1483-5.

[vii]Clements PT, Speck PM, Crane PA, Faulkner MJ. Issues and dynamics of sexually assaulted adolescents and their families. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing 2004;13(4):267-74. 

[viii]Abbey A (2002). Alcohol-related sexual assault: a common problem among college students. J Stud Alcohol Suppl. 14: 118-28.

[ix]Mohler-Kuo M, Dowdall G, Koss M, Wschsler H (2004).Correlates of rape while intoxicated in a national sample of college women. J Stud Alcohol. 65(1): 37-45.

[x]Tjaden P, Thoennes N. Full report of the prevalence, incidence, and consequences of violence against women: findings from the national violence against women survey.Washington: National Institute of Justice; 2000. Report NCJ 183781.

[xi]Basile KC. Prevalence of wife rape and other intimate partner sexual coercion in a nationally representative sample of women. Violence and Victims 2002;17(5):511-24.

[xii]Brener N, McMahon P, Warren C, Douglas K (1999).Forced sexual intercourse and associated health-risk behaviors among female college students in theUnited States. J Consult Clin Psychol. 67(2): 252-9.

[xiii]Champion HL, Foley KL, DuRant RH, Hensberry R, Altman D, Wolfson M. Adolescent sexual victimization, use of alcohol and other substances, and other health risk behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health 2004;35(4):321-8.

[xiv]Lang AJ, Rodgers CS, Laffaye C, Satz LE, Dresselhaus TR, Stein MB. Sexual trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, and health behavior. Behavioral Medicine 2003;28(4):150-8.

 

 

 

 

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