College Rape Victims Speak Out, Hoping To Help Others

College rape victims say their attacks are often ignored or minimized, according to a new study reported by CNN:

One in five college women will be raped, or experience an attempted rape, before graduation. Less than 5 percent will report these crimes to officials on or off campus, and, when they do, there’s a good chance the system will let them down.

A handful of former students who spoke out and reported rapes at their schools told CNN they didn’t feel protected by their universities. They were initially interviewed as part of an investigative series by the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington-based nonprofit that says it seeks to make institutions more transparent and accountable.

The women welcomed the chance to share their experiences and offer advice to students today.

“I was too young, still in too much shock and too emotionally gone to make decisions on my own,” said a woman who, as a freshman, reported a rape in 2001. “I needed an adult I trusted. The school did not provide such a person.”

Schools are aware it’s a problem, a big problem. … They’re just not dealing with this issue head-on.
–Kristen Lombardi, Center for Public Integrity

The shocking statistics of rape and attempted rape on campus came to light in a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice nine years ago. But the recently released series published by the Washington center shows that while federal law requires schools to act on sexual assault allegations and look out for the rights of victims, many higher-education institutions aren’t making the grade.

“Schools are aware it’s a problem, a big problem,” said Kristen Lombardi, the center’s lead reporter for Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice. She pointed to a “culture of silence” and said critics say, “The biggest sin is one of omission. They’re just not dealing with this issue head-on in a public manner with their student bodies.”

The story has so far gathered 250 comments, several of which point out that men, too, are raped on campus and also need support and advice.

Rape in South Africa, Where Little Girls and Lesbians Are Targets of Choice

CIA map of South Africa
Image via Wikipedia

Today, BBC World News, a radio show I listen to every morning for an hour, will focus again on this horrifying issue, one the BBC has been following for years. In 2002, they posted the news that one in four South African girls under the age of 16 had been raped. Now, a survey of 1,730 men conducted by the Medical Research Council there finds that 25 percent of men say they’ve raped, and half of them have done it more than once.

In addition to child and adult rape, consider the phenomenon of “corrective rape” — the idea being that a brutal sexual attack by a man, or several will “cure” lesbians of their preference for women. Eudy Simelone, one of the nation’s star athletes, a lesbian, was raped and stabbed 25 times for the crime of being gay.

I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know her name or much about her story. Imagine the international outrage and horror if we heard of the raping and stabbing of openly lesbian athletes like  tennis legends Billie Jean King, Aurelie Mauresmo or Martina Navratilova, Canadian hockey player Nancy Drolet, German cyclist Judith Arndt, American mountain biker Missy Giove or Carol Blazejowski, a former basketball star now the general manager of the New Jersey Liberty of the WNBA.