By Kathryn Dailey
Every two minutes, someone in America is sexually assaulted,
according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.
The calculation is based off data from the U.S. Department of
Justice, 2002 National Crime Victimization Survey. However, in 2003
the rate of rape and sexual assault declined marginally, according
to the USDOJ Department of Statistics.
I find this statistic alarming. The idea that violations of such
a grotesque nature occur so frequently in America makes me sick
After the alleged sexual assault of a 23-year-old Fort Collins
woman on the morning of Oct. 2, the issue of rape and sexual
assault were brought home and brought to light for Fort Collins.
Few people know just how often rape occurs. Within a standard
school year, 3 percent of college women will be victims of an
attempted or completed rape, according to the USDOJ. That’s far too
many in my eyes.
If anyone has been raped or assaulted, then the crime should be
reported. It’s not right for the victim to feel as though he or she
must keep the incident a secret. It isn’t the fault of the victim,
nor is the crime in anyway justifiable.
Often the victim knows his or her attacker. In 2000
approximately 66 percent of rape or sexual assault victims knew
their assailant, according to NCVS. This may make it more difficult
for the victim to come forward, sometimes out of fear that he or
she will be blamed or disbelieved. No one should be silent.
The highest risk years are 12 to 34. However, girls 16- to
19-years-old are four times more likely than the general population
to be victimized, according to the RAINN Web site. Men are also at
risk for rape and sexual assault.
So, what do you do if you have been raped? Go to the police or
hospital immediately. You may feel dirty and want to shower or
brush your teeth, but that will wash away much of the evidence that
can be used to convict your assailant of the crime.
Often after being raped, victims will feel numb or experience
feelings of disbelief. They may be preoccupied with thoughts and
feelings of the rape, which may cause flashbacks, nightmares, or
painful memories of the event, according to the Rape Treatment
Center in Santa Monica, Calif., part of the UCLA medical
It’s hard to understand the effect rape can have on an
individual. Guilt, shame, anger and depression are all feelings
that may occur within the victim. They may also experience physical
symptoms like difficulty sleeping, headaches and stomachaches,
according to the Rape Treatment Center.
Family and friends may feel helpless because they are unable to
help their loved one, but how can anyone fully grasp what its like
to be hurt in such a way unless it has happened to them?
Healing is a process that takes a long time after the event.
Friends and family as well as the victim should talk to a counselor
and try to be patient as everyone works through all the emotions
I believe that within every person there is the strength to
survive incidences such as these. Not everyone who is raped or
assaulted needs to consider him or herself a victim. There is no
justification for what was done, but the power to change the
outcome lies within the hands of those who were affected.
Those who survive something so degrading are incredibly strong.
With each person who fights back for his or her right to freely
walk the streets without fear of being raped or assaulted, the
larger chance we have at winning the battle.
Some of this may sound redundant, but until rape and sexual
assault are just bad memories, the truth needs to be heard.