Here’s a solution

Jonathan Septer

Last Friday’s Stater ran an article that gave students tips on how protect themselves against rape. It was a great article, and I will not be demonizing the article or its author; however, I feel it’s necessary to comment on it and associated issues.

You may ask yourself why I feel qualified to discuss this topic. I have two reasons.

First of all, during the winter of ’01 and ’02, I lived in Chicago. I was a college dropout and couldn’t find work in any field that I felt made a difference. I wanted to change the world and save everyone in it.

Then I discovered volunteer work at Rape Victim Advocates, a haven for women and men who are survivors of sexual assault. The training for volunteers was intense. When it ended, I was fully trained to be a victim’s advocate, and I joined the force of volunteers working there.

My job, when on call, was to travel to any hospital in the city that reported a sexual assault victim and assist them in their dealings with the hospital staff and the Chicago Police Department. It was a tough job, and they told me I was good at it. Sadly, I was only there a short time. I left Chicago to return to Ohio and Kent State.

My second reason is my ex – well, one of them. When I came back to Ohio, she approached me and suggested we get a drink. I accepted. She told me she’d heard of my volunteer work in Chicago then asked me why I didn’t call to apologize to her. She accused me of sexual misconduct with her and one of her friends. Nothing a court would construe as rape, mind you, just poor behavior on my part.

This is where you expect me to turn this article into an outcry against women who falsely accuse men of rape, right? Sorry, my ex was right. I made mistakes, and perhaps my work with rape victims was a subconscious act of atonement. I don’t know, ask a psychology major.

I was raised like every other man in this country. I was trained to think of women as sex objects. I had been led to believe men are stronger than women. I had been taught that sex is an exchange of power. And now I’m old enough to realize the truth.

Women aren’t objects or conquests, they’re people. Sex isn’t about a number, it’s about a feeling. Sex is life. Rape is death.

According to Rape Victim Advocates, by the age of 18, one in every four women is raped. One in three is raped by 40.

By the age of 18, one in every 10 men is raped.

Every seven seconds, someone, somewhere, is being raped.

Contrary to popular opinion, rape rarely occurs interracially.

Ninety percent of the time, the victim knew the rapist prior to the attack.

The average man couldn’t tell you what constitutes rape outside of a violent onslaught. Herein lies the problem. Our society, as a whole, could do wonders for this social disease simply by educating its men and women. The only way we can truly help a survivor is to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Jonathan D. Septer is a senior English major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].