July 14 2014

Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word.

Listen to today’s episode here: https://soundcloud.com/carol-ann-olson/2014-07-14-thevword-campus-rape

Are you a college student? Are you a parent of a college student? Then no doubt you have been reading the news lately about sexual assault on college campuses.
I have been getting stories sent in by students…. While using force, containment and brutality are means used to rape a person and happens on college campuses. There are other actions perpetrators use to sexually assault someone. threats, chemicals like alcohol and drugs, groping, sexual harassment and stalking are used to sexually coerce someone. Perpetrators like to think that using a variety of ways to coerce someone makes it consent.. but it is not consent – it is coercion and it is sexual assault.
Have you ever given someone a sleeping pill to make them drowsy and then had sex with them? That would be considered sexual coercion.
Have you ever threatened to out someone’s sexuality or orientation in order to get them to agree to have sex with you? That is sexual coercion..
Have you ever given someone enough alcohol to make them drunk and incapacitated with the purpose to have sex with them? That would be coercion and rape.
Providing someone with a chemical to reduce their inhibitions or to get them to agree to something they wouldn’t do sober or alert is sexual assault.

Varying reports from the Department of Justice Services, to the White House, to the Office on Violence Against Women, to the statistics from local rape crises centers all find that 20 – 25 % of female college students are sexually assaulted. That’s every fourth or fifth woman on campus. So let’s follow stats… if the current count of women in college is 57% and college classes tend to hold 20 – 30 students (to large lecture classes that hold 100), in a class of 30 students… 4 or 5 are survivors of sexual assault – on campus… In a class of 100 students… 14 or 15 are survivors of sexual assault – on campus…. How many people in college… around 21 million in 2011… so that means… almost 3 million female students are survivors of sexual assault on campus or through college related activities.

What is the impact of sexual assault on college students? The impact is large and ongoing. With the new information regarding trauma on our brains… interpersonal violence received, like sexual assault and physical assault have a permanent impact on our brain which impacts our ability to process, modulate feelings, and manage behavior. This happens even if you witness acts of violence.
What are some of the results:
Trauma related psychiatric and medical issues can be profound
Mentally: Post Traumatic Stress disorders, depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, adjustment disorders, and relational disorders are common,
medically: sexually transmitted diseases that can result in sterility or immune deficiency disorders that can result in chronic and life threatening illnesses. head injuries are common and often overlooked, that can result in long-term cognitive issues.
Survivors of campus sexual assault have a higher percentage of dropping out of school, of having significant drops in grades, of dropping out of activities and jobs.
Survivors of campus sexual assault can have more difficulties with relationships due to a reduced ability to trust others.
Survivors of campus sexual assault can turn to alcohol and other drugs to help with the insomnia, nightmares, hypervigilance, and mood instability that can develop.
Appropriate trauma counseling may not be readily available in campus health or counseling centers or even all rape crisis centers due to lack of funds or resources.

What are the issues with colleges letting perpetrators continue to live on campus and attend classes? It promotes an environment where justice is not served, where females students are not respected, but most importantly, it provides an environment where sexual perpetration on females and males is accepted and facilitated.
Here is the question I ask myself…. If the majority of students in college are now women, if sexual perpetration still is targeted at mostly women, and if colleges are not protecting women… what happens if women stop going to those colleges? what happens if women boy cot those colleges? What happens if women create new and safer means to achieve higher education?
Frankly I am amazed colleges do not do a better job of taking care of the majority of their student enrollment. After all, isn’t that where the money comes from? the students and their parents?

For help or information? Here are some options…
If you have been assaulted, call 911. Local rape crisis centers have advocates they can send to help support you and provide information.
For information on how to report an assault in the Richmond, Virginia, USA are, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100, that is 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace Street.
For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.
Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at thevword.radio@gmail.com or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at http://www.thevword.org
The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.