The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Silent suffering

Many cases go unreported

One rape was reported to SMU police in 2001. The same year, asmany as 10 sexual assaults were reported to the SMU Memorial HealthCenter, the SMU Women’s Center, the Dean of Student Life andResidence Life and Student Housing.

The Core Alcohol and Drug Survey of SMU Students, also conductedin 2001, showed that 11.6 percent of all students surveyed had been”taken advantage of sexually” and 5.8 percent admitted”taking advantage of another sexually.”

Most sexual assaults are never reported. The majority of sexualassault victims never report what happened due to emotions,misconceptions, negative self image and social pressure.

“Usually [victims] don’t do anything at all,”said Cathey Soutter, coordinator of psychological services forwomen and gender issues.

Emotions tie heavily into the decision to report the assault.The Bureau of Justice Statistics, a branch of the U.S. Departmentof Justice, found that in six of every 10 rapes, the attacker is arelative, friend or acquaintance of the victim.

Soutter said victims have options in reporting an assault, evenif they file a police report. Charges are not filed without thevictim’s consent. The victim may choose to bring the attackerin front of the SMU Judicial Board instead of filing criminalcharges.

Misconceptions about what qualifies as a sexual assault also candeter victims from reporting an attack. Individual conceptions ofwhat constitutes a sexual assault differ. The SMU Police Departmentdefines sexual assault, in part as, “non-consensual sexualintercourse committed by physical force, threat, coercion orintimidation.”

Victims often are afraid to come forward because they feelresponsible in some way, Soutter said. In some cases, they blamethemselves and wonder if they could have done something to preventit.

“They are too upset to think about anything, but justgetting through it,” Soutter said.

Some victims are not sure they could handle the courtroomprocedure, she said.

Students remain concerned about sexual assault. The Core Alcoholand Drug Survey from 2001 showed that 86.5 percent of studentscared about sexual assaults as a campus issue.

Students can do their part to minimize their odds of being avictim by staying aware of their surroundings and educatingthemselves about sexual assaults and victim’s options.Through the SMU Police Department, the Women’s Center and theMemorial Health Center, Soutter said the goal is to support victimsin any way possible.

The ultimate decision to report a rape should be left to thevictim, Soutter said.

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