Rape means sex without consent.
Rape, according to Webster’s dictionary, is the “unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent.”
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 1.5 million women are raped each year. The National Violence Against Women Survey found that one in six women in the U.S. have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. The survey also found that 83 percent of the women who reported being raped at some time in their lives were under the age of 25.
[rape] Women are not the only ones being raped, either. About three percent of American men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
In 2000, 5,438 rape offenses were reported in Michigan. More than half of the victims of those offenses were white females under the age of 25. Also, the most common relationships of the victim to the offender were acquaintance, friend, or boy/girl friend. Women are more likely to be raped by someone they know than by someone they don’t, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In 2003, there were 22 reported forcible sexual offenses on and around MSU’s campus. This year alone there has been seven rapes (or sexual assaults) in six weeks, an astounding figure. So what happens if you are sexually assaulted or raped? How do you protect yourself? Who do you tell?
Rapecrisis.org tells you to immediately go to a safe place. Tell the first person you can trust what happened, and have them help you call the police. It is important to tell a trusted friend or family member even though most victims feel shameful, or even to blame for the incident. They can call the police to report what happened, and the sooner a doctor examines you after a rape, the better chance they will have of finding physical proof that you were attacked. Do not wash yourself or throw away any of the clothes you were wearing during the attack. There may be hair, blood, or semen from the rapist on your body or clothes that the police can collect as evidence.
To report a rape on MSU’s campus, just dial 911 from any phone. There are also over 100 “Green Light” emergency telephones that are located all over campus that call directly to the MSU Police dispatch center. Within MSU’s Counseling Center, the MSU Sexual Assault Crisis and Safety Education Program has a 24 hour Sexual Assault Hotline that you can reach at 517-372-6666 for information and support. The hotline is staffed by trained MSU student volunteers who can provide referral resources for the next step of healing.
Ann Flescher, a certified Social Worker and is the Sexual Assault Program coordinator within the MSU Counseling Center, said, “Volunteers also provide advocacy services to recent sexual assault victims at Sparrow Hospital Emergency Room, where victims undergo sexual assault evidence collection by trained sexual assault nurse examiners. Our volunteers provide information and support to the victim while the nurses collect the evidence and/or when the victim is interviewed by the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction.”
The best weapon against a rapist is knowledge. Know what to do if you are attacked. Know where to go, who to call, and how to defend yourself against your attacker. One way to do so is to take a self-defense course.
“The Sexual Assault Program works on campus with the Intramural Sports and Recreation, who has offered self-defense classes for many years,” Flescher said.
Self-Defense is also offered as a Kinesiology course here at MSU. Kathryn Gruits, a journalism senior, is currently enrolled in the Kinesiology self-defense course that meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 to 8:50 a.m. in IM West. “I decided to take Kin 106V because learning to defend myself against a potential attacker sounded like a useful thing to know,” Gruits said.
Local martial arts businesses also offer self-defense courses to those interested in learning how to defend themselves against attackers. Self-defense courses do not have to be certified to be taught, so if you are shopping around, look for one that is geared towards fending off a sexual assault, and that teaches you not only to use your body, but your mind as well.
To stand up against sexual violence on campus, attend Take Back the Afternoon, a rally to stop rape, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Beaumont Tower on October 8. Seven rapes in six weeks is unacceptable.
Rape means sex without consent.