Editor, Daily Nexus,
In light of the article “Rape or Race Coverage?” (Daily Nexus, Jan. 22), we thought this would be a good opportunity to dispel a very ubiquitous myth about rape and sexual assault. Cordaun Dudley’s article makes a very good point: Society frequently assumes that a rapist is a man of color. Society would also have us believe that this man of color is usually jumping out of a bush in a dark secluded area with a knife or gun in an attempt to rape a white woman. These circumstances could not be further from the truth. Most sexual assaults, 98 percent in our community, are perpetrated by an acquaintance – someone you’ve met before. This can be very scary for people to deal with because the threat is going to come from someone that you thought you could trust. And because it’s likely to be someone that you know, sexual assaults usually do not take place in the dark, secluded alley that your mom is always telling you to watch out for. In addition, because sexual assaults frequently happen when you are with someone you know in a place that you normally feel comfortable, the assault almost never involves a weapon. And according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, 80 to 90 percent of rapes occur within the same racial group.
Mr. Dudley suggested “speeches, workshops and skits” as a way of educating the public about sexual battery, and we think this is an excellent idea. Students Stopping Rape and Men Against Rape are two student groups on campus that work to educate the community about sexual assault. There are several free programs dealing with sexual assault that are offered to students. Men Against Rape offers a program called “Guess the Rapist” that attempts to break down myths about sexual assault. And Students Stopping Rape puts on gender discussions and self-defense workshops. Students Stopping Rape meets Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m., and Men Against Rape meets Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Women’s Center library. To request a program or to get more information, call the Women’s Center at 893-3778.