"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill it teaches the whole people by its example.
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself."
–Supreme Court Justice Brandeis

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Assault month brings new information to light- (Ft. Hays State University)

Assault month brings new information to light

by Lydia Weed

“Sexual assault scars the lives of millions in the United States. To increase awareness about this issue, prevent future crimes and aid victims, this month, we mark National Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” said President Obama.

Many Fort Hays State University students wonder how close this issue is to their campus. According to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, in 2006, Kansas had 23,077 reported rapes, and of those rapes, 12,624 arrests were made. Ellis County had 136 reported rapes, 113 of which were reported in Hays.

One in every three women is raped, and only one in ten ever reports the assault. One in fifteen men is assaulted, and only one in thirty reports. Compounding these statistics is the fact most sexual assaults are against children, the most vulnerable victims. Of the children assaulted, only 15 percent will disclose, and 80 to 90 percent know their attacker. Approximately three to seven percent are false allegations, the same percentage as any other false felony accusation.

“I thought I knew him pretty well,” said Sarah Greene, whose name has been changed. During the night of her assault, Greene was under the influence of drugs and alcohol supplied by her rapist. After she passed out from the mixture, her attacker raped her.

“I have very little memory. I remember him asking which condom I liked, and I remember throwing up in the middle of the assault. I blacked out because of the alcohol or if my brain just doesn’t want to know, but I really have no other memory of the rape itself,” said Greene.

Greene was found by her mother and friend, still naked and passed out in the rapist’s bed. Later that morning at the Emergency Department, she received prophylactic medications in the hopes of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and an unplanned pregnancy. The staff set her up with counseling services as well.
Many blame the victim for putting themselves in precarious situations that somehow legitimizes their “culpability” in the assault.

“Blaming the victim is a logical and emotional reaction because you want to separate yourself from the victim. If you don’t dress, act or participate in the same activities as the victim did, in your mind that separates you from the victim, making you less likely to become a victim yourself,” said Kelly Center supervisor Carrie Nassif.

The most common rapists are called Power Reassurance Rapists. They are rarely violent and may prowl, are peeping Toms and make dirty phone calls. When this isn’t enough, they will graduate to sexual assault. These are the so-called “Gentleman Rapists.”

According to a booklet provided by the Kelly Center, “He seeks power through sex.”

In the rapist’s mind, the forced assault is somehow consensual. However, consent cannot be given when the person is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

In the Kelly Center booklet, “For the most part he does not consider what he is doing to be rape. If you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation with this personality type, try to be assertive of him. If you can make him understand what he is doing is a crime, he may back off and allow you a chance to escape.”

Most of the men and women assaulted do not report this kind of rape.

According to both the University Police and the Hays Police Department, the most common type of rapist in Hays is the Power Reassurance Rapist, more commonly known as the “Date Rapist.”

“There is no such thing as date rape. Rape is rape,” said University Police director Ed Howell.

The second most common, the Power Assertive Rapist, often a male, assaults to assert his masculinity, about which he has no doubts. He has a macho self-perception and believes real men force women and women want to be forced. He will use enough physical force, ripping or tearing clothing to accomplish the assault. This often is the spouse, date or acquaintance rapist who uses a con with a surprise approach.

“In most cases of acquaintance rape the victim is under the influence of alcohol,” said Howell.

The Anger Rapist is the third most common type and who society envisions. His aim is to hurt and debase his victim, using physical violence and profane language. The Kelly Center booklet claims, “This personality rapist type usually commits rape because he is angry with a woman in general. He may strike quickly and with a high level of violence.”

This type displays an explosive temper and no sense of humor. Often there is a history of domestic violence and child abuse. Alcohol and drug use prior to the assault by the rapist is common.

If a friend or family member has been assaulted, the Kelly Center advises to contact the police and offer him or her support and compassion. Rape is not about sex; rather, it is about power, anger and control over another.

Charges are not pressed against without the victim’s consent.

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