Sunday, September 14, 2008

Daily Evergreen editorial - defending yourself aganist rape

Defend yourself against rape -It’s not discussed enough
Tiffany Harms
The Daily Evergreen
Published: 09/12/2008

College-age women are four times more likely to get raped, according to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network Web site. And here we are, college-aged and all, yet nothing is said to us about rape. Sure, you’ll find a poster here and there telling you to “go to the police” or “no means no,” but in my opinion, this issue, for how common rape is, hasn’t been talked about enough. You deserve to be educated. You deserve to know about your resources. So here it is, in your face. It’s time to start talking.

When I talked with Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant during the summer, he said the most common type of rape in Pullman – and everywhere else – is acquaintance rape.

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Web site, acquaintance rape is “a sexual assault by an individual known to the victim.” This can be anyone you know, even someone you are dating.
Sadly, even though this is the most common – four out of five rapes are acquaintance rapes – it is also the least reported and the least talked about.

As everyone is well aware, rape is a touchy subject. It’s important at all times to keep the situation in perspective. While it is of the utmost importance that you remain vigilant, you should also keep in mind the dynamics of each individual situation.

Acquaintance rape is possibly the ultimate “gray area.” This is one of the reasons why it is so vastly underreported. But there are some consistent traits among attackers you can use to help identify and avoid them.

According to RAINN, the attacker will usually intrude upon or violate the victim’s personal space. This could manifest in the attacker revealing personal information to create a false sense of closeness or by “accidental” touching.

Be careful: This might come across as flirting, but pay close attention to the intensity. Usually when you first meet someone, they don’t tell you their life story, nor do they try to feel you up.
The attacker will also attempt to make the victim feel comfortable with them. This is called desensitization. The dangerous thing is the attacker is manipulating the victim into lowering their inhibitions and making the victim feel like their uneasy feelings are unfounded and incorrect.

If you initially feel uneasy about someone, hold on to that. You shouldn’t ever trust someone that hasn’t earned your trust. Finally, once the attacker has gained the victim’s trust, they will use it to isolate him or her from other people.

In all encounters with people, you should trust your gut instinct. If you feel weird about someone, restrict your contact with him or her or include other people in the conversation.

Unfortunately, alcohol or other drugs will completely throw all of this off. They can lower inhibitions, meaning that you might not notice if someone is coming on too strong, and you are more likely to do things that you wouldn’t feel comfortable with if you were sober.
Tennant said the most reliable way to protect yourself is to use the buddy system. If you’re going to a party, take a friend along with you, make a plan for the night and stick to it.

One of the trickier things to talk about is what will happen if you find someone you want to hook up with. Should your buddy screen the lucky guy/girl? Who will have the final say, you or your buddy? These are the kinds of questions you should have answers for ahead of time.

Keep in mind that if you met this person at the party, it’s probably not a good idea to run with it. One-night stands are never a good idea, as harmless as they may seem. If you find someone you like enough, get his or her number. There is always tomorrow.

Finally, when you do decide to hook up with someone, make sure you talk about it. Make sure it is something that you both want and are ready for.

Rape occurs when there is no consent. It may feel awkward to talk about sex, you may feel like you’re ruining the moment, but you probably shouldn’t be having sex if you can’t even talk about it.

No comments: