Rape - this word strikes fear in the heart of many women. 1 in 6 women will be raped in their lifetime. 1 in 3 will be sexually assaulted. Rape is the most violent form of crime that occurs on college campuses today. 25% of college students will be raped before college graduation.
When many female students go to college, it is their first time away from home. They set their own curfews, go to parties that go late or all night. Many students have classes that go well after sunset.
There are some ways to protect yourself at night & at parties to help you to avoid becoming a victim of a rape or sexual assault.
1. Use a buddy system. Don't go out alone at night. Whether you are leaving your dorm or apartment for a walk or a run to the convenience store, ask a room mate or friend to go with you. If you are leaving a class after dark, walk out with a classmate or have your professor walk out with you if you are the last one to leave the classroom.
2. Use your car key as a weapon. Put your car key between your index finger & middle finger. If you are attacked, you can use this key to poke, scratch or gouge at your attacker to inflict enough injury to get away to a safe location.
3. If you go a party, keep your drink in your sight at all time. 90% of all rapes occur while a person is under the influence of alcohol. Rohypnol can be slipped into a drink & you won't even know it's there. It is tasteless, odorless & doesn't cloud a clear drink. There are signs that you have been drugged with Rohypnol, they are - It creates a sleepy, relaxed, and drunk feeling that lasts 2 to 8 hours. Other effects may include blackouts, with a compete loss of memory, dizziness and disorientation, nausea, difficulty with motor movements and speaking.
If you've been the victim of a sexual assault then you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Rohypnol can detected in a urine test up to 60 hours after being ingested by a victim. If you take a shower, all of the evidence will be washed away. Its best to get a rape kit done sooner rather than later. A rape kit will be done to check for fluids on the skin & in or around the vaginal area, to look for skin under the fingernails, pubic hair from your attacker & any other injuries that might have been inflicted during the attack. Rape kits for minors are mandatory for some states but optional in other states.
You will then give a statement to the police. As embarassing as it might be, it's necessary to be done as soon as possible after the attack since the memory of the attack will be fresh in your mind. Some departments have female officers that work with rape victims, ask if there is one available.
After giving your statement, the county attorney will decide if there is enough evidence to procede to a trial or if there is insufficient evidence. Sometimes, if your assailant says they did nothing wrong & there is very little evidence to go on, the case be will closed.
The anniversary date of your assault may bring up memories. If your attacker dies, this can bring up powerful memories, sometimes of relief that you don't have to worry about that person anymore if they weren't convicted. It can also bring about feelings of anger if the evidence collected wasn't enough to go to trial.
There are resources out there to help a victim get thru their attack & move on. THERE IS life after a rape or sexual assault.
Lets stay Aware & Safe this semester.