Students Fight Sexual Assault

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

October 18, 2005

College students have plenty to worry about between classes, writing papers and doing homework--and sexual assault should not be on that list. A group from UVa is teaching other students how to know when consent is given.

The blockbuster American Pie sparked dialogue about talking about consent and consequences with your partner at tonight's SAFE meeting--standing for Sexual Assault Facts and Education.

"Over 80 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim and the average length of time that the victim has known her assailant is one year," said SAFE's Graduate Advisor Nicole Cober-Lake.

The moderators gave tips to discuss taking the next-step and not just jumping into it.

"87 percent of students at the University are sexually active." said SAFE President Courtnay Johnson.

College-age students face more issues with alcohol.

"The general rule of thumb is that if you're really drunk your friends would never let you drive a car, but yet people assume that we can make great decisions about sex no matter what we've had to drink. So I think people are really vulnerable to that party atmosphere," said Cober-Lake.

"Even at parties you see situations where women...are being objectified and harassed, so it's definitely something that's very present on this campus," said Johnson.

The main thing they stress is--you aren't alone and it's not your fault.

"It is a very emotionally trying experience--so it is important that have people you can talk to," Johnson said.

Two local organizations you can contact for help are the Sexual Assault Resource Agency and Shelter for Help in Emergency.

One out of every four women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.

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