A new study conducted on the issue of college campus rape has revealed some highly disturbing statistics. While it is common knowledge that this sort of thing happens in college, the proportions of it remain in the dark, thus minimizing the entire issue and ultimately adding to its complications.
This most recent study was conducted by Brown University and it surveyed 483 first year female students in regards to their experience with attempted and completed rape. Additionally, it also assessed their depression levels and their alcohol consumption patterns.
The most important fact about this study is that it set off to offer clear information, as previous studies performed on this matter have been accused of misusing the term “rape” and including forced kissing and inappropriate touching in this category as well, thus relaying false data.
In the Brown study, the term “rape” has been defined as “vaginal, oral, or anal penetration using threats of violence or use of physical force, or using the tactic of victim incapacitation”, so as to be clear about what it implies for the subjects.
The study assessed whether or not the women had been raped before college, during the first part of freshman year and by the time the students entered their second year of college. And the data shown an exponential increase in the incidence of rape.
The study revealed that before they started college, 18% of the women in the study had experienced attempted or completed incapacitated rape and that 15% had experienced attempted of completed forcible rape.
The term incapacitated rape refers to those instances when the victims have consumed alcohol or drugs in an amount that prevents them from resisting rape. There is mention of an “incapacitation” method, used by rapists, when they either mislead their victims to overuse drugs and alcohol or when they administer certain types of drugs to the victims without their knowledge.
The term “forcible rape” refers to the instance when the rapist uses physical force to immobilize its victim, and proceeds to issue threats so as to maintain the upper hand throughout the act.
At the beginning of the first year of college, 15% of women reported they had been victims of attempted or completed incapacitated rape, while 9% reported they had faced attempted or completed forcible rape.
Then, by sophomore year, it got to the point where 26% had experienced attempted or completed incapacitated rape and 22% had faced attempted or completed forcible rape.
Since some of the women experienced both type of rape, the study concluded that 37% of female students had experienced at least one type of rape. This means that about one in three students were victims of rape at some point, which is more than alarming.
Rape can have short term effects that are a consequence of the physical trauma, that range from mild to very severe injuries, but it is the long term effects that often prove to be the most devastating ones. These include depression, also ranging from mild to severe, and many other types of behavioral problems that affect the women’s lives.
As for the causes of the proportion of these facts, they are diverse and quite difficult to tackle all at once. The most common include the students’ first experience with alcohol and drugs, that is particularly dangerous since they do not know their limits and thus put themselves at great risk, especially when there is insufficient campus security, that greatly conveniences the circumstances of rape.
The study also revealed that the majority of the women who had been raped prior to college have faced this problem again in their first year. There is evidence that supports the hypothesis that women who have been traumatized will be easier victims in the future.
As the lead author of the study, Dr. Kate Carey points out, rape has reached epidemic proportions and that there are underlying circumstances that are holding back better results in solving this matter. If instead if rape, the issue at hand would be something less tabu, such as students “breaking their legs”, then the reaction would be considerably more prompt and effective.
The findings of the study will be published in Journal of Adolescent Health and hopefully, they will bring about some serious methods for solving this widely spread highly damaging issue.
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