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The Many Dimensions of Acquaintance Rape in College

By HERWriter
 
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Sex should be pleasurable, and there should be no doubt in the mind of both partners that sex is what is desired.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and that is what can lead to acquaintance rape.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, “college-age women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted.”

Depending on the state, sexual assault can mean “unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape,” or it can include rape, according to RAINN.

Acquaintance rape “involves coercive sexual activities that occur against a person's will by means of force, violence, duress, or fear of bodily injury” with someone a victim knows, the website stated.

According to the website of the National Center for Victims of Crime, acquaintance rape is more common than rape by stranger, though women report rape by stranger more often.

Melissa Lucchesi, the outreach education coordinator for Security on Campus, Inc., said in an e-mail that about 90 percent of rapes in college are caused by people victims know, partly because acquaintances have more access to victims.

“Rape is an opportunistic crime of violence, power and control,” Lucchesi said. “The victim's guard may be lowered when around someone she knows or is even dating. Also, the people we know know what makes us more vulnerable.”

More college women are raped because they feel safer on campus and there are more opportunities and vulnerabilities, as well as an alcohol and party environment, she said.

Harmful effects of sexual assault and acquaintance rape (besides the act itself) include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug abuse and suicide contemplation, according to the RAINN website.

Melissa Tumas, a sexual assault and relationship violence specialist at the Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Information Service (SARIS) at the University of Washington, said her university is trying to reduce violence by “engaging all the people who are bystanders” through the Green Dot Program.

“Most people in our culture are not violent,” Tumas said.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Rheyanne,

Thank - you for a thoughtful, well researched article.

For me it seems that. You raise the issue lgi power & control regarding rape.

The article skirts the issues of personal responsibility & modesty.

While there is no excuse for rape, the issues are not completely black & white.

When we as women dress modestly, we show respect for ourselves & lessen tlle chances of being in power - control situations.

On the other hand, to dress provocativly, we are the ones trying to exert power & control over men. In effect we attempt to put ourselves up on a pedestal, then cry rape when we lose the power & control we tried to exercise over men.

Let's get real for a second, men are visual & can be opportunistic.

Which one open the door for unwanted sexual advances, 2 women talking together at a party modestly dressed & sober or one woman in revealing clothing who is intoxicated???

Also, it's important to note that life is a series of awarenesses - losses.

This is a process:

Denial

Anger

Bargaining

Depression - Sadness

Acceptance

Please note the above-mentioned stages, regarding rape & the responses to this post...

Respectfully with sincere Love,

Paula

June 21, 2011 - 9:30am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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