Feb 212005
Authors: Holly Bianco

College campuses, such as CSU, frequently have problems with sexual assaulters. Rape is an ongoing issue that many organizations are working to prevent. The Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center, SAVA, is one organization in Fort Collins that is helping victims get back on their feet and also working on how to prevent rapes from happening.

"One in four women have been sexually assaulted," said Alanna Sherstad, the executive director at SAVA.

Contrary to the belief that rapists are usually strangers on the street, most of the sexual assaults occur by acquaintances.

"Sexual assault is tricky because well over 80 percent of assaults are acquaintances," said Chris Lindder the assistant director of Woman's Programs and Studies. "Usually the victim has some sort of trust with that person (the rapist)."

Rapists also share no common distinctiveness. The stereotypical sexual assaulter tends to look and act like any other common person.

"Rapists don't have any characteristics outside of the normal population, there is no way you could pick a person out," said Karl Swenson, the administrative lieutenant at the CSU Police Department.

Although there can be both men and woman victims, the usual target is women who look vulnerable, unprepared and distracted.

"One out of ten males are responsible for 90 percent of assaults," Swenson said, "but two out of those ten will commit it if they believe they can get away without any repercussions."

There are many different kinds of sexual assaulters, Swenson said. There is a sexual sadist who is a small portion of the population but usually causes the most damage.

Then there is the degrader who usually has the motive of revenge. This kind of rapist wants to punish the victim for something that has been done wrong to him.

Then there is the inadequate male who typically rapes woman because he feels the need to prove his masculinity.

"We as a society have spent fortunes putting up (emergency) phones (and security devices)," Swanson said.

There are many ways for CSU students to get help when they need it.

"We have the victim assistance team, which is a group of faculty, staff and students who are on call 24 hours a day even when school in not in session," Lindder said.

There are also many services provided in the hope of preventing such occurrences, Lindder said, such as risk-reduction programs and even men's groups that encourage positive treatment toward women.

"Self defense classes might be something good to think about," said Elizabeth Sutphin, a licensed clinical social worker and staff counselor at the University Counseling Center. "A lot of places in town offer classes on how to defend yourself in a difficult situation."

There are certain signs that women who are in danger must realize. It is most important for woman to be aware of what is going on around them.

"Look for hostility towards women, an excessively dominant personality and individual who has unrealistic views of women," Swenson said.

For those who have been sexually assaulted there are many places to go in order to seek the help that they need.

"It's best to go to a medical facility first," Sutphin said. "The thing to not do is shower or bath."

The CSUPD is also working with counseling services to create a very friendly environment for victims to come to and feel safe, Swenson said.

"For people who go out to social events make sure you go with a friend or a group where people can keep their eye on each other," Sutphin said.

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