20% of female undergrads victims of sexual assault or misconduct
Sobering statistics for parents as they send their daughters off to college.... It's estimated more than 20 percent of female undergrads will be the victim of a sexual assault or misconduct. One in six freshmen women are raped while too drunk or drugged to fight off an attacker. Fighting For You, spoke with experts about the importance of talking with your students about the danger..
By sharing her story in a video, Bergen, hopes to bring more understanding about rape. Her alleged rapist had been a friend at the University of Alabama. He was never prosecuted. "You never think this is going to happen to you," explains Bergen. She wants people to understand what a victim goes through and the limited resources to help on college campuses. "Miniskirts, Mace and other Misconceptions," takes a hard look how the crime affected her life. "I was so mad, hurt, robbed, broken, kind of fell apart," recalls Bergen. She says the anger can be paralyzing.
Sexual assaults often remain a dark secret. At the Crisis Center in Birmingham victims are given private interviews with police along with rape kit tests by a highly trained nurse known as a SANE in a confidential setting. "You can come here and get the highest standard of care. It is away from the hustle and bustle of an emergency room which can be really overwhelming for someone in traumatic situation," says Rhiannon Reese, Rape Response Coordinator.
She says counselors help step victims through the legal process. "There's a small group (of perpetrators) doing this over and over and a lot of good people are not using their voice to stop it," remarks Reese. She says the majority will come here without physical injuries. "They don't fight, they often freeze. If someone you know would rape you, what else would they be willing to do?"
Experts say parents must talk with their daughters and sons about sexual assault and open up the dialogue. Reece says there are so many things those in the community can do to help: everything from raising money for non-profits, speaking out about injustices and simply getting the conversation started.
Most rape victims know their attacker. The National Institute of Justice reports: 85-90 percent of sexual assaults reported by college women are perpetrated by someone they know, about half happen on a date. Half of the student victims don't define the incident as "rape" especially if no weapon was used. Fewer than five percent of the crimes are reported to police or campus administrators.
In Alabama in 2015 of the 1,800 sexual assaults reported, only 200 arrests were made.