Men Express Themselves
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Sexual Assault On Campus
(One of Many Viewpoints)

Russell Irving

The Rolling Stones magazine recently 'stepped in it'. By that I mean they published an article, purporting to discuss the horrific number of women who are sexually assaulted on college campuses, highlighting one young woman's terrifying gang rape during a fraternity house party.
The problem is that there were many issues with the article, primarily the recounting by the woman. So many issues that led folks to question whether or not it actually took place and so many things that journalists belive that the article's author should have done but didn't, that Rolling Stone issued a 'semi-retraction'. (At least as far as the tale of the alleged rape is concerned.)

The larger issue is that there are many facets of campus sexual attacks which are left out of the discussion. As well as much misinformation.

So, allow me to help you with some of that info.

First and foremost, there is no excuse for coerced or other forced sexual activity. Period.

* Government officials, journalists, and others frequently speak of one-in-five college females becoming victims of sexual assault. This is based upon a 2007 study, The Campus Sexual Assault Study, which was conducted by Christopher Krebs and others. However, the study had some caveats. It was a voluntary study. Which means that it was more likely for respondents to be those who were victimized than non-victims. Secondly, it encompassed a relatively small number of women. The students came from 2 institutions of higher learning. So that what might apply to those campuses would not necessarily or even likely apply to other campuses. The respondents were compensated for their participation, albeit only $10 in Amazon credit. The study also found that of the approx. 20% of women at those 2 campuses who said they experinced unwanted sexual overtures/actions, the number who said that there was actual sexual assault was 13.7%. (Now, any % is too much.) Krebs, himself, said that it was not 'right' to extrapolate the numbers of assault at these institutions to all others.

* While the number of women who actually come forward to report sexual assault is undoubtedly less than the number experiencing this horror, bear in mind that there are instances when the male is falsely accused.  Perhaps the guy rejected her and she wanted revenge. Or he cheated on her. Or, she had 'morning after regrets'. In some instances, the male serves prison time. Other times, their name is dragged through the mud and they have difficulty getting into another college or finding a job.

* If both parties are drunk or stoned and have what appears to be consensual sex, should the female fbe able to file a complaint/charges stating that she was unable to give a valid consent due to her intoxication? Should the male be held more accountable than she, for his actions, if he was equally intoxicated?

* The accounts of sexual assault often referred to imply/state that there is a male and female involved. Yet, whereis the hue and cry from another study by Krebs and others (Women’s Sexual Orientations and Their Experiences of Sexual Assault Before and During University) which concluded that bisexual and lesbian women had suffered a significantly higher rate of sexual assault on campus than heterosexual women. And, that bisexual/lesbian women who were sexually assaulted before attending college had a greatly higher reported incidence of sexual assault than those who were not. Similar, but lesser odds applied to heterosexual women.

* Gay men get raped. Whether by gay or (otherwise) straight or bi-sexual men. There are women who do attempt to force themselves upon a man. (Does anyone remember a Picket Fences episode regarding this?)

* As traumatic as rape and other sexual assaults are, realize how difficult it must be for a male to report should actions. We expect men to be macho and fully capable of fighting back and successfully protecting themselves.  - The Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties, Ohio state on their website, that 1 out of every 33 American men has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in his lifetime. At least 10% of all victims are male.

* There are some steps that both genders should take to minimize the odds of being a victim. --- First and foremost, being sober and not partaking of illegal drugs is an important one. - Peer pressure can have a strong influence on some people. If you are at a party and there is a lot of making-out-and-then-some, be extra cautious. - Have a means for leaving a bad situation. A car, bike, or friend whom you could ask to leave with, when you feel uncomfortable. - Carry a cell phone. - Don't be afraid to call 911 if necessary. - If you hear 'horror stories' about sexual misconduct occuring when a specific fraternity or sorority hosts a party, then avoid putting yourself in a potentially precarious position.
Now, I am not blaming victims. However, just as we should not drive drunk, not leave our front door open with expensive merchandise visible, or walk alone, at night, in an unfamiliar, high crime neighborhood, you should practice safe actions.

* College campuses should have policies in place to handle complaints of sexual assault/other sexual misconduct. They should involve trying to get the victim to notify the community's authorities (such as the police), for the sake of both the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator. And, if required by law, university should notify notify these authorities in a timely manner. The accused should not be automatically deemed to be guilty of misconduct.

Bottom-line, is this: We will probably never truly have accurate numbers for rape and other sexual assaults. Against women or men. But any forcing or coercing of sex is wrong. Period. And, falsely accusing someone of misconduct can ruin that individual's life.

'Nuff said.

I invite any of you who wish to do so, to send me your experiences in this area. If any of them are published here, we will not use the names that you give us. Send them to:

Copyright Russell Irving 2014