Last night, the Art Of Rape event in Forum Hall began with a powerpoint presentation profiling the deceit, lies and facade rapists use to lure their victims in. Themes present in the powerpoint included the innocence and vulnerability of victims, along with the stereotypical perpetrator of rape. The presentation profiled a rapist as a sociopath, skilled in manipulation and deceit with a streak of impulsivity and promiscuity.
The powerpoint was followed by remarks from Mary Todd, director of the K-State Women’s Center, who lamented the changes in society leading to a higher prevalence of rape and violent crime.
“If we’ve got increasing violence, preying and selfish activity, then where are we headed? The word ‘rape’ almost always has the word ‘and’ with it,” Todd said. “‘She was drugged and raped. She was raped and murdered.'”
Rape, a violent felony, is among the most prevalent crimes on college campuses. One in four college women will experience a rape or an attempted rape between their 16th birthday and their college graduation, and four out of five of the rapists will be someone the victim knows.
Statistically, rape is the most under-reported crime, largely due to a lack of response by authorities, a victim blaming society and shame felt by rape victims. At the Art Of Rape presentation, two videos shared this feeling of shame and depression commonly felt by rape victims.
The first video, a chilling 911 call from a 30-year-old woman about to be raped, featured a hysterical female voice that, in the end, went silent. The video then went on to tell the story of a rape victim who subsequently shaved her head, moved into the country and attempted suicide. The second video shown at the event was an attempt to train men to help female rape victims, and had a graphic description of male rape to help men empathize with females both the physical rape and its aftermath.
There are several steps, according to the women’s center and the resources they provide, that one can take to help a rape victim. Todd stressed in particular that the trauma and depression associated with being sexually assaulted or raped was temporary.
“Let them know that there’s hope,” Todd said. “They can be more powerful than they were before it happened. They will transcend that kind of pain.”
Finally, Todd opened up the event for discussion. Questions such as a solid definition of rape, the possibility of recovery and the use of reporting assaults were discussed.
Audience members, both male and female, found the presentation and experience very thought-provoking.
“This is a very personal subject for me. I know people and it’s important to be educated,” Stephanie Hecker, junior in communication studies, said. “I think it was incredibly powerful and really got its point across.”
A common misconception that the center attempts to debunk is that while rape statistics convey the magnitude of the problem at K-State, rape and sexual assault are experiences that happen in other places or to other people.
“I think it’s a big problem all over the world,” said Nicole Horn, senior in family studies and human services who also works at the women’s center. “I don’t think K-State is above it. I have three friends who have been raped here. I think it happens everywhere.”
K-Staters can take action against rape and make preventative measures by learning more about the crime. On-campus organizations such as Wildcats Against Rape have the goal of spreading awareness about rape and sexual assault and ending these crimes.
Other measures that can be taken are learning the profile of rapists, many of whom fit a sociopathic description and get pleasure or happiness from others’ pain. In the case of on-campus rape, a Title IX offense can be brought against the perpetrator to find justice outside of court.
“At K-State, we do not want you to be on campus with someone who has hurt you,” Todd said. “The intent of the criminal is to hurt the victim. Rape is an act of violence, not sex.”
Todd also addressed the overwhelming percent of victims who never report their rape, keeping justice and closure from being found.
“Every single day I am aware of the loss of freedom people endure so that they don’t have to report their rape,” Todd said. “We don’t want to be assaulted by our own people.”