Their misperceptions are pretty
much the same as women in the general popu-lation. One of
the biggest: sexual assault is perpetrated by a stranger,
someone that jumps out and drags the victim into the bushes
– or kidnaps them. Yet, research has shown that 90 percent
of sexual assault is by someone known by the victim.
Also, 75 percent of campus rape in Orange County involves
alcohol. We’re talking about the age group of 15- to
19-year-old women, and dealing with the combination of college
freshmen free from their parents and drugs or alcohol –
it’s a volatile combination. I encourage them to make
wise choices and to remember that drugs and alcohol can make
for an unsafe atmosphere. Many think sexual assault is not
going to happen to them, and then when it does – by
a friend or a roommate’s boyfriend that takes advantage
because they have been drinking or doing drugs – they
don’t call it sexual assault. They think it’s
their fault because it was someone they knew.
Part of my job is encouraging former victims to talk about
the assault, to get over an acquaintance rape by placing the
responsibility on the person responsible for it – and
then to move on. I give two messages to students: This is
what sexual assault is, and this is how you can stay safe.
The number one best rape prevention is communication –
stating what is OK and not OK.