Rape underreported on college campuses

By Melissa DiPietrantonio
October 10, 2002

Cabrini College has many policies on sexual assault violations and offers a great deal of assistance with handling the situation.

There are two categories of sexual assaults, forcible and non-forcible.

Forcible sexual assaults are any sexual acts forced upon someone against his or her will. These crimes consist of forced rape or date rape and forced fondling. There was one forcible sexual offense in 1999 at Cabrini, and there were two in 2001.

Non-forcible sexual assaults are forms of non-forcible sexual intercourse such as incest and statutory rape. There was one non-forcible sexual offense at Cabrini in 1999 and two in 2000.

These statistics do not differ greatly from those of Villanova and Eastern Universities. There was one forcible act at Villanova in 1999, five in 2000 and three in 2001. There is a population of 4,300 resident students at Villanova, as opposed to Cabrini’s 800. There were no reported offenses at Eastern.

Charles Schaffner, director of public safety, said date rape is the most prevalent form of a sexual assault. “It is very under-reported.” Schaffner said. “It is prevalent throughout the country, but there has only been one incident on Cabrini’s campus.”

Schaffner said in many cases both people have been drinking or using drugs. Two drugs are known as “date rape” drugs: Rohypnol and Gamma-hydroxybutric acid, also known as “G.” Both of these drugs cause extreme sleepiness and amnesia.

Only 20 to 45 percent of rapes are reported. Sometimes the victim is embarrassed. In cases of date rape, sometimes the victim knows the assailant and actually wants to protect them.

There are ways to prevent date rape and other sexual assaults. Schaffner said, “When you go somewhere, be there with other people. Don’t allow someone else to get you a drink. Get your own and hold on to it. It is very easy to slip some kind of drug into a drink. Also, don’t drink to excess. You need to be as alert as possible.”

According to the public safety manual, victims of rape and sexual assault have certain rights at Cabrini. They have the right to be treated with dignity, to have their complaints investigated by civil and criminal authorities, to receive rapid assistance from campus personnel in informing the proper authorities, to have the freedom to choose whether they want to report crimes to police and to receive a variety of confidential support services available on campus.

At times, there are forums on campus that address the topic of rape, including freshman orientation. The department of public safety offers programs of a preventative and therapeutic nature.

Any time unwanted sexual contact has occurred, the victim should seek medical attention immediately. Students at Cabrini can contact health services during the regular academic year at 610-902-8400. There is also the option of contacting Delaware County Women Against Rape at 610-566-4342.

After the victim’s medical needs have been met, the victim may choose to file a report with college authorities. These reports are encouraged in order to assure the continued safety of the campus. Filing a report results in the opening of an investigation. To report an incident, contact public safety at 610-902-8246. Public safety will then aid the victim in contacting the police if so desired.

Possible consequences for students who have committed sexual assaults include suspension of residence hall privileges, suspension from the college or even expulsion.

Members of campus ministry, health services and public safety are available for support 24 hours a day. There are also counseling services offered at the Rooyman Center.

The vice president for student development is also available to provide constant support for the victim. Cabrini will assist in changing academic and living situations after a sexual assault has taken place if requested by the victim.

Schaffner said, “I encourage any woman who has been assaulted to report it immediately.”


Rooymans Center Counseling Hours

Monday
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Tuesday
9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Thursday
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Friday
9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

*evening hours
by appointment.

Counselors

Suzanne Mallaghan- Rasco Joye Shrager
Tamara Feldman

The Rooyman Center
(610) 902-8561

victims can also contact:

Delaware County Women Against Rape 610-566-4342.

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Melissa DiPietrantonio

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