University rape is real
We feel that it is imperative to correct some of the misinformation that has become typical of the mainstream media as demonstrated in his article.
Mr. Finley observes that there is a growing backlash against date rape and that this backlash is in part a response to the often quoted statistic that one in four college women have been the victim of rape or attempted rape.
This figure (originally printed in Ms. magazine) emerged from the work of psychologist Mary Koss in a study conducted in 1987 where 6,159 undergraduate women and men were surveyed nationally asking them if they had been sexually assaulted after the age o 14.
The definition of "sexually assaulted" used in the survey asked whether the individual had had sexual intercourse against their will under a variety of circumstances including the use of physical force or the threat of bodily harm, or if they h d been the victim of an attempt of this kind. From the responses of women, 27 percent answered yes and the one in four statistic emerged.
Mr. Finley states that of these respondents, 73 percent when asked again said they did not think they had been "raped."
Yet, in quoting this statistic, what Mr. Finley fails to recognize is that when women said they had intercourse without their consent, this legally qualifies them as rape victims.
Does the fact that they themselves don't recognize this as rape disqualify the experience from having happened? Let me give an analogy: If a person demonstrates the behavior of an alcoholic but denies being an alcoholic, is this person not an alcoholic?
This apparent inconsistency could be the result of many factors, among which is the very backlash that Mr. Finley talks about in his article.
Could it be a possibility that because of this backlash these women are afraid to identify the situation as "rape," for fear of not being believed and/or fear of being attacked further for the situation? The fact is that it is this backlash tha prevents many women from ever coming forward with charges of rape.
In attempting to dismantle the notion of date rape, Mr. Finley also refers to the controversy over false rape accusations. He argues that most statistics show a 12 to 20 percent rate of false rape accusations. Meanwhile, the actual FBI false report rape or rape is 1-2 percent which is less than the false report for other violent crimes. Furthermore, Mr. Finley fails to recognize that for every reported rape, there are an estimated 10 rapes that are not ever reported.
Finally, when Mr. Finley states that statistics regarding rape as an area where "exaggeration is the norm" let me ask if he is aware that according to the Virginia Tech Crime Report for 1994 there was one rape reported.
Does this statistic seem exaggerated to you? If anything this statistic promotes a false sense of security for women on campus. Furthermore, it is a tremendous act for a survivor of sexual assault to bring charges against someone; it certainly is not a d cision that one handles flippantly.
The fact is that date rape is an extremely real and serious problem. While Mr. Finley is correct in observing the backlash against the gains that women have made, the aim of the backlash is to put the real concerns of women in areas such as work, politic , harassment, and education back into the closet by trying to convince women that their real problems are caused by too much feminism and independence.
We would do better to realize that recognition of date rape is a step forward for the safety of our campus and community.
Copyright ï¿½1995 The Collegiate Times