Take Back the Night took over the Hub on Tuesday afternoon to discuss sexual assault in the Isla Vista community and its relation to alcohol use.
Panel members included a TBTN representative, UCSB’s Rape Prevention Education Program coordinator, a UC Police Dept. sergeant and three representatives from the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. The panel was originally scheduled in the MultiCultural Center, but due to low student turnout, it was moved to the UCen Hub from noon to 1 p.m. in order to reach more students. Panel members spoke about the prevalent role alcohol plays in sexual assault, and asked the audience for their input on the issue.
Carol Mosely, UCSB Rape Prevention Education Program coordinator, said the majority of rape instances in I.V. occur when the victim and perpetrator know one another, and this familiarity contributes to the use of alcohol.
“[Most I.V. rapes] happen when people are with an acquaintance, and that’s why we’re linking sexual assault and alcohol,” Mosely said. “Stranger assaults are very rare in I.V. It’s usually an acquaintance – a friend of a friend, someone they met at a party. There’s a lot of trust in a university community. In the U.S., 80 to 90 percent of sexual assaults that occur are acquaintances.”
A woman who is under the influence of alcohol or any other drug cannot legally give consent for sex, UCPD Sgt. Suzanne Malloy said. However, many rapes go unreported because women often feel guilty if alcohol was involved, according to SBRCC advocate Silvia Urive.
“In a lot of cases females do not report sexual assaults because they were drunk, and they think, ‘What are [the police] going to say?’ There’s a lot of guilt attached to sexual assault,” Urive said. “When a woman is drunk, or on drugs, it doesn’t count against her – it counts against the person who committed the act.”
TBTN co-Coordinator Tara Goddard said a community’s attitude toward intoxicated females plays a large role in the occurrences of rape.
“One of the major fallacies is that if a woman is drunk, she’s somehow less worthy of respect. Why is there that dividing line?” she said. “You see a drunk girl walking down the street and say ‘Oh, she’s trashed. Oh, she’s gonna get what’s coming to her.'”
Malloy said the I.V. Foot Patrol often arrests intoxicated women who are walking with men they don’t know well. Mosely encouraged I.V. residents to take more responsibility for themselves and their friends when partying.
“I think it’s really important to address the fact that in I.V., you see a lot of people drinking and the more alcohol one consumes, the more inebriated a woman is, the harder it becomes to say no,” Mosely said. “If you see someone drunk you have three things you can do: One, you can ignore them, two, you can help them, and three, you can take advantage of them. … Unfortunately, the first and third happen a lot more than the second.”
TBTN Week will continue today at 3.30 p.m. when the Rape Crisis Education Group will reenact a mock rape trial at the MultiCultural Center.