Lecture shows myths of sexual assault

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“One in four females and one in six males will become sexual abuse victims by the time they are 18 years old,” said Marisa Gonzalez, prevention education and training director of Rape Crisis Center, Sept. 18 to an audience of 60 at the Methodist Student Center.

The lecture on myths and truths of sexual assault was part of the ministry’s Hot Potato series each Tuesday that explores a current and often controversial topic.

A baked potato is served after the lecture.

Gonzalez said one in 10 people are forced into sex before graduating high school.

She said that in most rape and sexual assault cases, the victim already knows the offender.

Acquaintances are responsible for 73 percent of reported rape cases: 28 percent of those are intimate relationship partners and 7 percent of them are family members.

Gonzalez said rape is an underreported crime and men are less likely than women to report it.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex victims might not report a sexual assault, fearing the report will focus on their own sexual orientation, be seen strictly as a hate crime in retaliation or result in the victim being outed.

Six percent of sex offenders have never been jailed, she said.

Gonzales said the biggest risks for sexual assault aimed at minors includes poverty, low self-esteem, prior victimization and past abuse, runaways, homeless youth and human trafficking.

Human trafficking is recruiting others for involuntary sexual slavery, service and forced sexual acts, Gonzales said.

State law defines sexual assault as the act of penetrating a man or woman intentionally with an object without consent.

Unconscious people or those under the influence of alcohol and drugs cannot give legal consent.

Audience members at the weekly Hot Potato lecture said they felt that the case of sexism in culture and gender roles is the same problem as it’s always been.

The Rev. John Feagins, community director of the Methodist Student Center and campus minister, said when he was in college, fraternity students’ behavior was often sexist and objectifying sexual attitudes were tolerated.

Discussion at the Hot Potato lecture addressed myths of stereotypical and common views, such as that men cannot be raped or that women invite rape by the way they dress.

Media also are seen as an influence on rape culture.

Gonzalez said, “The media influences us everyday, and we’re consumed from its messages and information. It’s violent and tolerates rape culture, sexism and racism.”

She used the “Grand Theft Auto” video game, comedy references and societal tendencies as examples of sexist media.

For information about the center, call John Feagins at 210-733-1441 or visit http://www.saumcm.org/San_Antonio_UMCM/Student_Center.html.


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