Sexual Abuse Screening highlights college sexual assault rates

Nick Hadjigeorge

One in four women will be raped at some point before they graduate and 95 percent of these assaults will go unreported, according to studies by the Department of Justice and the Center for Public Integrity.

A film screening and discussion panel hosted Thursday by the UT sexual violence awareness group, Inspire, provided statistics, strategies and commentary about a largely under-reported yet major problem facing college campuses across the U.S.

According to a Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network study, college-age women are four times more like to be sexually assaulted than other women.

The film created for the event by Inspire member and women’s and gender studies graduate student Juan Portillo emphasized the concern that college administrations are poorly handling the problem of widespread sexual assault.

Investigative reporter for the Center for Public Integrity Kristen Lombardi said in the film that regulatory and privacy hurdles the judicial process colleges use makes it difficult for victims to get justice.

“The process they use can make victims feel more victimized,” Lombardi said.

The discussion panel included a sociology professor, an Austin abuse shelter employee and a student involved in the Counseling and Mental Health Center’s Voices Against Violence program.

Associate sociology professor Gloria González-López said the way sexuality works in our patriarchal society increases women’s vulnerability to sexual assault.

González-López said it is necessary to promote images and values of women as human beings and to think more critically about sex in general.

“How we are trained to think about sex is too simple given how complex these issues are,” she said.

Senior nursing student and participant in Voices Against Violence, Sacha Jacobson, said the most important tool in fighting sexual violence is for victims to speak out and hopefully become active in various programs to promote awareness.

Printed on Friday, September 30, 2011 as: College sexual assault incidents often to unreported nationally.