Sexual assault is a significant problem at CSU, according to
Karl Swenson, administrative lieutenant for the CSU Police
“If you have one (sexual) assault it’s a problem,” Swenson said.
“If you have more than one it’s a significant problem.”
Date or acquaintance sexual assaults are the most common. More
than 95 percent of assault victims know or choose to be with their
assailant, Swenson said.
The problem is not exclusive to females and the department files
a small number of reports each year from males, Swenson said.
He also said people may feel reluctant to report the issue, but
the CSUPD and Victim Assistance Team have tried to make reporting
the crimes easier.
“We’ve tried to set up an environment where if something has
happened the person will feel comfortable to come in and report,”
People should avoid situations where they will be alone with a
stranger, Swenson said.
“Clearly reduce your risks by dating in groups until you get to
know someone,” Swenson said.
One in six women will be victims of a completed sexual assault
and one in four women will be victims of an attempted sexual
assault between their sophomore year of high school and their
sophomore year of college, said Jody Jessup, assistant director of
Women’s Studies and Programs, citing a study done by Mary Koss,
author of “The Rape Victim.”
Like many campuses across the country, CSU should be concerned
with sexual assault, Jessup said.
“CSU, like all universities, has difficulties related to sexual
assaults, but we have a lot of resources to deal with the problem,”
Acquaintance assault is said to make up somewhere between 70 and
90 percent of all assaults on campus, according to Jessup.
“Acquaintance assault is the most common,” Jessup said.
The Victim Assistance Team on campus gets many referrals having
to do with sexual assault, Jessup said.
“The most important thing to do is seek informed resources,”
The Victim Assistance Team is a 24-hour on-call service for
students who are sexually assaulted and for anyone who is assaulted
Deb Morris, director of health education at Hartshorn Health
Service, said being under the influence of some substance might
also be a contributing factor in the assaults that occur.
“That’s a huge factor in the majority of sexual assaults on
campus,” she said.
It is important for women to keep track of their beverages as
well as have a plan with their friends on when to check on one
another. Women should also communicate their sexual limits clearly
with their partner, Morris said.
“Women should trust their gut,” Morris said. “If it doesn’t feel
safe, it probably isn’t.”
The Victim Assistance Team can be reached at 491-7111.
Precautions everyone should take:
Communicate sexual limits on a date
Keep beverage in sight at parties and clubs
Be assertive in saying no
Back your words with actions, such as leaving
Pay attention to behavior that doesn’t feel right, such as:
Power stares, someone standing or sitting too closely, someone
blocking the way
Communicate whereabouts with friends