Rape prevention program isn't broad enough
class of 2002
I am writing in regards to Jamie Belcher's news article on Nov. 21 pertaining to the new rape prevention program at Saint Mary's. Initially, I was very impressed that Saint Mary's was adding a new program to combat something that has been neglected for some time by the college. However, after reading the article, I was very alarmed by a very na´ve and common misconception about sexual assault stated in the article.
Ms. Belcher describes "one Saint Mary's student who will never fall into that category [of assault victim]" because she already has "10 years experience of karate under her belt." Although the Rape Aggression Defense program and other self-defense programs may make you feel safer, these are not surefire ways to prevent sexual assault. To have the attitude that you are always protected because you know some defensive moves only makes you more vulnerable to the situation. Also, this attitude plays directly into the myth that most sexual assaults occur when some scary man in a ski mask jumps out of a dark alley or behind some bushes.
Unfortunately, in 85 percent of sexual assault situations, the victim knows her attacker. Your first reaction when a friend or boyfriend crosses the line is not to turn into Karate Kid, but to trust that when you say "stop," he will respect your wishes since he supposedly cares about you.
Also, your guard is already let down because you are with a trusted person and with 90 percent of cases involving alcohol, your motor skills are impaired. Therefore, while you're under the influence of alcohol and with a trusted friend, are your defensive moves going to guarantee you never fall into the category of not being able to protect yourself? No.
While it is great that Saint Mary's is working on trying to prevent a problem in only 15 percent of sexual assault scenarios, they need to consider the bigger problem and work on solutions that do not create a false sense of security.
class of 2002
New York City
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, November 25, 2002