Posted on | July 25, 2009 | No Comments
The work that SAFER does is particularly important because, while rape can be committed against anyone, anywhere, at anytime, college women are particularly likely to be assaulted (pdf). Estimates say that 1 in 4 women have been raped since the age of 14, and rapists assault women aged 16 to 24, years which encompass those most commonly spent in college, at four times the rate of all women. And women in college are more likely to be assaulted than women of the same age not in college.
During the time actually spent in college, 3% of women report surviving rape or attempted rape during each academic year (not including summer — it also seems that number might not include rape committed through coercion). Other statistics say that one out of eight women will be raped while in college. And particularly chilling research shows that one out of twelve college men admitted committing actions which meet the legal definition of rape — at the same time as 84% of them claimed that what they did was “definitely not rape.”
Admittedly, some of the statistics are a bit old. Getting accurate and timely statistics is always difficult, especially on a topic that many people are secretive and ashamed about, or don’t fully understand. (For example, much research has shown that number turn out lower if you ask women “have you ever been raped?” versus “have you ever been forced to have sex?”) But even if the numbers have dropped since they were first determined — and I hope more than anyone that they have — the fact is that the numbers are much, much too high. And a lot of us know them all too well, not because we’re particularly acquainted with the research, but because we’re acquainted with our own lives.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. A lot of these rapes can be prevented with a change in culture and education. But acknowledging the problem — and getting schools to acknowledge the problem on their own campuses — is always the first step.