Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Past time to talk about this...

RAPE! Why didn’t you tell me?            Following an urgent telephone call, I sped to the mall. There I found my daughter unharmed but shaken. While with a friend at the mall, she had been flashed by a man she didn’t know. Along with a security guard, she and I looked for the culprit. We looked everywhere, but couldn’t find him.

I was livid; the mall had been one of my daughter’s favorite places. As we entered the security guard’s office, I held my daughter and blamed myself for trusting that the mall was a safe place. No one had ever given me a reason to think otherwise.

“Take a look at this,” instructed the guard, when we sat at a desk. He’d pushed a three ring binder at least two inches thick at me. In it were pictures of men who’d been caught, flashers at the mall. There were so many. Why hadn’t I been told?

Although that was many years ago, the memory of that alarming experience came to mind when a friend told me of a comment her niece, a recent college grad, had made about rape on college campuses. Almost flippantly, she’d said, “It happens all the time.”

We’d had that conversation when my friend had found that a man, not a student at her daughter’s university, had been staying, unreported, in a small dorm room that housed two girls, for two weeks. He’d stayed there without the permission of the other girl in the room.

Because my two daughters had graduated from college, I was thankful they’d escaped a similar experience. Still, I was shocked that it may be more commonplace than I had thought.

It appears to be a dirty little secret. But it may not be such a little one. That’s how I felt when I read this in a most unlikely magazine, Sports Illustrated’s 11/26/12 edition, page 64:

“…Seeburg was a 19-year-old freshman at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind.; she accused a Notre Dame football player of assaulting her on Aug. 30, 2010, and 10 days later committed suicide in her dorm room…Notre Dame police didn’t attempt to contact the accused player until nine days after the alleged assault and didn’t reach him until five days after Seeberg’s death.”

Seeberg’s smiling picture is on the same page; so is her Dad’s remark. According to SI, he, Tom Seeberg, told the Chicago Tribune, “Ultimately, there’s a sense of betrayal.”

It’s impossible for me to say that such a loss as his is unthinkable. Like me, perhaps, Tom Seeberg wishes he had known, known to ask certain questions. On college campuses, what will our daughters encounter? How secure are the dorms? How many rapes have been reported? How many haven’t?
Such hard to ask questions should be answered before they are asked. I believe that now, especially after reviewing the following website:

College Campuses and Rape - Crisis Connection, Inc.
Every 21 hours there is another rape on an American college campus. 90% of all campus rapes occur under the influence of alcohol.

Dare I question whether its information is factual? If you have a daughter about to enter college, would you? What follows are a few of the site’s most troubling points:

            Every 21 hours there is another rape on an American college campus.
90% of all campus rapes occur under the influence of alcohol.
Of the college woman who are raped, only 25% describe it as rape.
Of the college women who are raped, only 10% report the rape.
College women are most vulnerable to rape during the first few weeks of the freshman and sophomore years.
78% of the men identified (as rapists) were an acquaintance, friend or boyfriend of the victims.
Most rapes occur on the weekend.

                                             B. Koplen 12/4/12

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