Feb 242004
Authors: Jamie Way

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,”

Swenson said.

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,”

Jessup said.

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,”

Jessup said.

The Victim Assistance Team is a 24-hour on-call service for

students who are sexually assaulted and for anyone who is assaulted

on campus.

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

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