Almost 50% of rapes reported, educator says

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 Photo illustration by Monica Correa and Vincent Reyna

Photo illustration by Monica Correa and Vincent Reyna

Guilt and fear are among survivor reactions.

By Jennifer Luna

jluna217@student.alamo.edu

Dating should be exciting and fun, especially in college.

However, college students should take precautions so the date does not become a nightmare.

Dating someone is about getting to know them, and while some people have honest intentions, others do not.

Jennifer Tristan, educator for the Rape Crisis Center, said, “One in four women in college are likely to be raped as opposed to one in six women in the general public.”

Tristan said in college, 90 percent of victims know who the rapist is. She said about 50 percent of rapes are reported.

Tristan said fear is primarily the reason rapes go unreported.

Victims fear not being believed, the legal system and possible retaliation from their rapist.

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network website reports 207,754 people suffer a sexual assault each year.

According to the network, rape has decreased since 1993 by 60 percent, however, every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.

Of 100 rapes, 46 have been reported, 12 lead to an arrest, nine get prosecuted, five lead to a felony conviction and three rapists will go to prison, the network reports.

Jane Shafer, volunteer program coordinator for the Family Assistance Crisis Team of the Special Victims Unit of the San Antonio Police Department, said the number is low because jurors have their own definitions of rape, and some cases are dropped because of their differing views.

Shafer said some jurors will not consider the incident a rape if the victim was intoxicated or wore provocative clothing.

“I know it’s a 1900s way of thinking, that the victim was asking for it, but people still think that way,” Shafer said.

She said other cases are dropped because prosecutors say there is not enough evidence. This results because victims usually take a shower after the rape, washing away much of the evidence that could be used in prosecution.

According to the Rape Crisis Center website, common survivor reactions include guilt, fear, loss of control, avoidance, flash backs, mood swings, depression, anxiety and body memories.

Counseling service Coordinator Melissa Sutherland said people who have been raped must seek counseling immediately. She said she refers students to the Rape Crisis Center where they can learn to heal and recover from the trauma.

Sutherland said guilt is the most common reaction after a rape. Victims ask, “What could I have done differently?”

“They blame themselves a lot,” Sutherland said.

According to the 2012 Annual Security Report compiled by the district police department and available on the ACES homepage, there was one reported rape on public property in 2009 and one reported rape on campus in 2011.

The report also shows districtwide one reported rape on campus at Palo Alto College in 2009 and in 2011.

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