Saturday, April 08, 2006

Duke Rape Case: fluke or part of a pattern?

For many people, the Duke University scandal is the first indicator that colleges and their surroundings can be dangerous places for female students.

But is this really a new or isolated incident?

According to a nationwide study of college students in 2000, between 20% and 25% of women reported experiencing completed or attempted rape. College women appear to be at higher risk for sexual assault than their non-college-bound peers.

So rape on college campuses isn't just happening to those who aren't women of note (as one pundit described the alleged victim in this case). It's common and the norm is that rapists on college campuses will get away with their crimes.

I believe we can change the tide if we all accept the problem as a real and serious one. I believe we can prevent rapes by changing our attitudes so the responsibility and blame belong to those who break the law and away from crime victims who fail to avert potential rapists.

The first change is to see rape in a new way:

Rape is a vile form of bullying.

Once you accept that, we can get beyond any Just Say No campaign and begin a genuine dialogue that helps make all potential victims as real and as important as anyone else -- even those who have respectability, power and money. Right now most rape victims are only 2-dimensional characters to rapists and to many of the people who influence rapists.

For my fellow Christians who think some women deserve to be raped, I think you're forgetting something (or someone):

"What you do unto the least of them, you do unto me."

That alone makes the alleged victim a woman of note in my Book.

Here are some related links worth following:

Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities Are Doing About ItDecember 2005

US Dept. of Justice document: Acquaintance Rape of College Students by Rana Sampson (70 pgs)

If you aren't sure what constitutes legal sexual assault in your state, use this site to find the relevant statutes.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:44 AM   0 comments links to this post


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