Counseling & Wellness Center

Sexual Misconduct

Rape happens frequently, but victims are afraid to discuss the experience. This is because rape differs significantly from all other crimes. A person's body is violated. The victim is forced (or intimidated by threat or coercion) to relinquish control over his/her body while another person defiles and abuses it. Acquaintance and date rapes, however, may not be recognized to be real rape by the victim, the victim's friends or parents, or the public. Many acquaintance rape victims feel that they were forced to have intercourse but deny they were raped. Victims of date and acquaintance rape frequently tend to feel more ashamed, guilty, and depressed than other rape victims. They tend to feel more guilty than victims of stranger rape because they chose to be with the rapist in the first place.

This guilt is reflected in the low rate of reporting among rape victims. In 2001, 38% of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to police while 57% were not.

  • More than half of the rapes in the United States are acquaintance rapes.
  • 73% of women who had been legally raped didn't believe they had been raped. Over one-third did not discuss the incident with anyone; only 5% reported it to the police.
  • 44% of male college students reported some likelihood of "forcing a female to do something sexual she didn't want to," if they wouldn't be punished or found out.
  • 1 in 4 female college students will be a victim of rape or attempted rape.

Reference
National Crime Victimization Survey, 2001.

There is no one direct cause of date rape. Three key elements involved are socialization, miscommunication, and changing sexual mores.

  1. Socialization. Traditional male and female roles in society are part of the problem. The idea that men should be aggressive and women should be passive can contribute to a dangerous date rape situation.
  2. Miscommunication. Communication between men and women can be a problem, especially in the area of sex. A "no" should mean "no" to both the communicator and the hearer.
  3. Changing Sexual Mores. Many college-aged men expect sex after they have gone out with someone a few times. Confusion also can arise if the man knows that the woman has been sexually active before. He may expect that she will automatically want a sexual relationship with him. Sometimes men believe that spending money on a woman entitles him to sex.

Although all rape is traumatic, there is something particularly traumatic about an individual being raped by someone he/she knows and has previously liked and trusted. Although only a small percentage of people commit date rape, these individuals do a disproportionate amount of harm. Date and acquaintance rape is a problem that concerns all men and women because it deals with the way men and women relate to each other. Therefore, rape prevention programs address protecting oneself and understanding the issue of rape, thereby making the campus a safer environment for everyone.

Characteristics of Rape Victims
Many rape victims suffer from Rape Trauma Syndrome. Symptoms include loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, nightmares, extreme phobias, preoccupation with the rape, anxiety about leaving the home and being with other people, inability to concentrate on studies or work, and sexual dysfunction. Dr. Georgia Witkin-Lanoil notes that Rape Trauma Syndrome has three stages:

  1. Acute Phase. In the victim's silence, his/her emotions may be expressed as physical symptoms: headaches, sleeplessness, nausea and/or muscle spasms. In addition, he/she usually experiences confusion, depression, anxiety, nightmares, and jumpiness.
  2. Chronic Phase. After several days, a victim of date rape seems to slide into preoccupation with his/her role within the incident by constantly replaying memories to figure out how the rape might have been prevented. The alternative is a temporary "adjustment" period that is based on denial of the incident.
  3. Long-Term Reorganization Phase. Often six or more months will pass before the victim digests and incorporates the reality of the experience.

Characteristics Of An Acquaintance/Date Rapist

  • Acts immaturely, shows little empathy or feeling for others, and displays little social conscience.
  • Displays anger or aggression either physically or verbally, especially against the potential victim.
  • Acts dominant and discusses acts of physical prowess. Displays a short temper, slaps and/or twists arms.
  • Acts excessively jealous and/or possessive.
  • Ignores space boundaries by being too close.
  • Ignores the potential victim's wishes. Attempts to make potential victims feel guilty or accuses victim of being uptight.
  • Becomes hostile and increasingly more aggressive when the potential victim says "no."
  • Acts particularly friendly in a social situation and tries to separate potential victims from friends.
  • Insists on being alone on the first date.
  • Demands attention or compliance at inappropriate times such as during class.
  • Asks personal questions and is interested in knowing more than the potential victim wants to tell.
  • Subscribes excessively to traditional male or female stereotypes.

References
Gibbs, N. (June 3, 1991). "When is it RAPE?" Time. pp. 48-55.

Hersey, B.& Buhl, M. (January/February 1990). "The Betrayal of Date Rape." InView.

Turner, R.D. (December, 1990). "Date Rape." Ebony. pp. 104-107.

Pritchard, C. (1988). Avoiding Rape On and Off Campus, 2nd ed. pp. 9,18,51-55.

Assiting a Victim of Date Rape

  • The victim may be in shock and unaware of the severity of his/her physical injuries. You should strongly encourage a rape victim to receive immediate medical attention, even if the person does not show any signs of injury and does not want the medical attention.
  • The victim needs a comforting, supportive person with him/her at all times. Don't ask a lot of questions. Don't blame the victim in any way or talk about what might have been done or what you would have done.

After An Assault Of Rape, Instruct Thw Victim:

  1. To call someone to be with the victim. He/she should not be alone.
  2. To go to a safe place and call the police. AU Security 607-871-2108 Alfred Police 607-587-8877 or 911 The sooner a victim makes the report, the greater the chances the attacker will be caught.
  3. To refrain from showering, bathing, douching, or destroying any of the clothing they were wearing at the time of the assault. Remind the victim not to disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred. It is important to preserve all physical evidence for court use.
  4. To go to a hospital emergency room for medical care. The victim should ask the examining doctor to make a note of all injuries received as a result of the rape. Make sure the victim requests an evaluation to determine the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  5. To write down a description of the assault's circumstances and the attacker. Police need all information they can get about the assailant.

If a student would like to talk to someone in further detail about the specific resources available to him/her regarding date rape, contact the Counseling & Student Development Center at 607-871-2300.

AU Wellness Centers Sexual Assault Care Document

The Wellness Center is available to students. It is located at 19 Park Street in Alfred, on the corner just past Herrick Library and the Saxon Inn. The telephone number is 607-871-2400. Physical exams, rape kits, and assessments are available only at the local hospitals:

St. James Mercy Hospital
411 Canisteo Street
Hornell, NY 14843
Telephone: 607-324-8000

Jones Memorial Hospital
191 N. Main Street
Wellsville, NY 14895
Telephone: 585-593-1100

Hotlines:
Rape Crisis of the Southern Tier
174 Main Street
Hornell, NY 14843
607-324-1124
Toll Free Hotline: 1-888-810-0093

For additional information on this and other Mental Health Topics, see:
http://ub-counseling.buffalo.edu/selfhelp.php
http://www.dr-bob.org/mental.html
www.womynkind.org
www.mencanstoprape.org

Reference:
Pamphlet "Sexual Assault: Reducing the Risk and Coping with an Attack" by the National Crime Prevention Council, Washington, DC.

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