Eighty to 95 percent of rapes committed on college campuses were committed by someone known to the victim

By Gus Bode

Factoid:If a student needs more information about date or acquaintance rape, call the Wellness Center at 536-4441

Studies show that if a college student is raped, it will be most likely be by someone he or she knows.

Ken Culton, coordinator for Wellness Programming Alcohol and Other Drug Education, said that one out of four or five women will be sexually assaulted and two-thirds of those will be date or acquaintance rape.


Acquaintance rape and date rape both involve a non-stranger situation, whether the individuals have just met or have known each other for some amount of time.

“Most situations end up being a perpetrator taking advantage of an acquaintance who has taken their guard down,” Culton said.

In a sample of more than 1,000 female students at a large urban university, over half had experienced some form of unwanted sex, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Twelve percent of these acts were perpetrated by casual dates and 43 percent were by steady dating partners.

NCIPC also reported that of the 500,000 rapes and sexual assaults reported to the police by women nationwide, nearly half are committed by friends or acquaintances. Of the rapes that occur on college campuses, 80 to 95 percent are committed by someone known to the victim.

Anda Jines, sexuality counselor at the Wellness Center, said that although some assaults are planned, not every acquaintance rape situation is thought out. Sometimes the situation can arise because of circumstances.

“A lot of times there is just an opportunist who will take advantage of a person in a situation where there is alcohol or drugs,” said.

According to the NCIPCS, studies have found the following to be associated with sexual assault perpetration:the male having sexually aggressive peers, heavy alcohol or drug use, the man’s acceptance of dating violence and rape myths.


Culton said that in sexual assault situations, 83 percent of the time alcohol and drugs are involved. And either the victim or perpetrator or both could be under the influence.

“More dosing goes on in college than with people in their 30s because of the drinking culture,” Culton said.

Date Rape Drugs (subhead)

Jines said that alcohol is the most popular date rape drug, but other drugs mixed with alcohol can have stronger, more problematic effects.

The drug most commonly referred to as the “date rape” drug is Rohypnol, generically called flunitrazepam, according to The National Women’s Health Information Center in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The drug is prescribed as a sleeping pill in countries outside of the United States as a short-term treatment for insomnia. The consumption of Rohypnol is associated with impaired judgment and impaired motor skills. When mixed with alcohol, the drug’s effects on memory and judgment are greater than from either taken alone.

According to NWHIC, effects of the drug begin within 30 minutes of ingestion and can persist for up to eight hours. Mixed with alcohol, “blackouts” from the drug can last from eight to 24 hours. Rohypnol tablets are white, tasteless, and odorless and dissolve easily in liquids.

The NWHIC also reports that since 1990, GHB (gamma-hydroxybutrate) has also become more common in sexual assault situations. Drinks spiked with this colorless, odorless drug can render a person unconscious, cause seizures, respiratory depression, hallucinations, coma and death.

Not Becoming a Victim (subhead)

But individuals can do things to help keep them from being a victim of sexual assault.

Culton said he suggests people go out to social situations in a group. But he said that within these groups it is important to decipher between friends who are drinking friends and those who will take responsibility for you.

“Be realistic about real friends and acquaintances and have a designated sober person who can keep an eye on everyone,” Culton said.

Culton also said to listen to the little voice inside that says something is not right or feels uncomfortable.

“Usually that little voice is right,” Culton said. “But it is hard to hear that voice when you are drinking.

“That can be a sign that it is time to slow down.”

Also, if a person is becoming involved in a relationship, they should get to know the other person slowly and to have structure by setting up rules for the relationship.

“You could see a guy who is ‘GQ’-looking and very attractive and you could feel comfortable talking with him and think he is a nice guy,” Culton said. “But he could be the most dangerous guy in the room.”

If a person feels that they have been sexually assaulted, Culton said it is important for that person to get help right away.

He said an individual should call someone they trust and get to the hospital as soon as possible to get medical treatment.

And reporting the assault to authorities is another important step for the victim to take. Many times the victim may question whether they were taken advantage of or they may feel ashamed. And because of this, rape is the most under-reported crime in the college age group, Culton said.

He said to keep talking about the situation and not to feel ashamed.

“It is important to always remember that it was something done to you and it’s not your fault,” Culton said.

Reporter Kristina Dailing can be reached at [email protected]