Prevention through education

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

The first rape charge of 2006 filed to campus police was reported this month, prompting U officials to redefine rape prevention.

According to the police report, a woman was driven by an acquaintance to an area near Red Butte Canyon and raped.

The suspect was identified and arrested. Because of the nature of the case, names have been withheld.

Neither, however, is a U student or involved with the U. Charges for the case are still pending.

Last year, four cases of forcible sex offenses were reported.

Keeping track of all cases is hard, Sgt. Lynn Rohland with campus police said, because 90 percent of rapes are not reported.

Rohland, however, said there are certain things students can do to prevent rape from happening. Being aware of your surroundings, resisting pressure from the person you are with and avoiding isolation can prevent situations that can lead to rape, she said.

“Also, beware if people try to pressure you or take touchy-feely kind of liberties with you,” she said. “Never take complete confidence in anyone.”

Especially, Rohland said, because 85 to 90 percent of all rape charges involve an acquaintance or family member.

But taking precautions doesn’t always work, said Kristy Bartley, counseling coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center.

“People say there are things women can do to protect themselves, like watching their drink or always bringing a friend. But, truth is, just because you’re trying to prevent it doesn’t mean it can’t happen,” Bartley said. “That’s just a false sense of security.”

But Rohland said there are rape prevention methods that work.

Rohland, along with other members of campus police, offer Rape Aggression Defense classes for women and girls.

In the six-week classes, women, who are the only people allowed to enroll, talk with rape survivors and learn self defense.

But violence, Bartley said, doesn’t always work.

“(Being) willing to knock out who you’re with is not a great use of self-defense skills,” Bartley said. “What we need to fix is the way we train young men.”

The real way to stop rapes is to shift gender perceptions, she said. Although 98 percent of all rape victims are women, they should not be the only ones learning how to prevent it.

“Men are the ones who have been badly taught,” Bartley said. “A lot of people think rape is about sex, but it’s actually about power and control.”

With a mission to teach that distinction, Bartley, along with other members of the WRC, hold counseling sessions for men.

“When rape happens, people always blame the woman and say, ‘Well, she was drunk,’ or ‘What she was wearing brought it on to herself,'” Barkley said. “They would never (say) those things if someone broke into that woman’s house.”

More information about rape counseling sessions can be found in the WRC, Room 293 in the Union.

Campus police and details about the Rape Aggression Defense classes can be found at or by calling 585-2677.