Forum looks at lack of reported U rapes

Not many people reported being raped last year on campus, according to U police, and not many people attended Wednesday’s rape awareness forum, either.

However, the lack of reports doesn’t necessarily mean that rapes aren’t occurring, according to Annie Nebeker, a licensed clinical social worker and associate dean of students.

“Most are not reported,” she said. “In the last five years, we have had about zero to three per year.”

Jason Chadwick, director of a board named Student Advocacy that helps victims of sexual assaults or rape, said he has referred one rape victim and two others of sexual assault to counseling services since last May.

“[The girl I saw] felt like she was not a moral person, or like it was her fault in some way,” Chadwick said. “It’s a devastating event for them.”

Of the rapes reported each year, many of them are alcohol-related or occur on dates, according to Nebeker.

“Boundaries get fuzzy and consent gets confusing when inhibitions drop and judgement gets impaired,” she said.

To prevent that from happening, she said, “it’s important for everyone to take responsibility…and be clear about signals,” even if that means limiting alcohol intake in some cases.

However, “if a woman is saying ‘yes’ to a drink, it doesn’t mean she is saying ‘yes’ to sex,” Nebeker said.

Police officers, rape recovery center representatives, counselors and student advocates manned seven tables (another seven were empty) in the Union lobby and handed out free pizza from Chartwells with brochures.

A student, Bran Ristic, said it was the pizza that caught his eye at first, but then he talked with the officers about self defense classes.

Another student hypothesized with advocates over the question of whether everyone is a potential rapist, in perhaps the longest conversation of the day between a student and a volunteer.

Nevertheless, during a day when not many people seemed interested or worried about the rape awareness forum, at least one “sounds like he will come in for some counseling,” said Melyssa Roderick, volunteer and outreach coordinator of the rape recovery center.

“If we can help even one person, it’s worth our two hours of time,” added Robert Wetzel, a volunteer.

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