York University Dorm Assaults

York University Dorm Assaults

I graduated from York University in the early 90's and while I didn't live in residence, I had friends that did, so reading about the young women raped in their own dorm rooms on Friday feels personal. I'm both angry and sad for all the frightened girls in residence, who can't feel at home in their own dormitories.

Sadly, sexual attacks on female university students are far from rare. University of Victoria studies from 1995 estimate that between 1 in 6 and 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted during their time at university. A University of Alberta report showed that over 80% of college and campus rapes are committed by someone the victim knows and that many of these assaults happen during the first eight weeks of classes.

Common safety advice says: lock your doors and windows, be aware of your surroundings, learn self-defense techniques, don't walk alone at night or spend time alone with boys/men you don't know well. These tips may help some women, some of the time, but the fact is, a rapist's behaviour depends solely on him so please, please don't ever make the mistake of thinking it was something you did that caused an attack. The blame is all on him. It wasn't because you didn't lock your door, didn't say "no" loud enough, didn't fight back, had too much to drink. The blame lies with him alone.

If you want to read more on the subject, Meg Cabot has a compelling blog entry on her experiences with rape victims in an undergraduate dorm at New York University. Also read Richard McAdam's debunking of Cosmos's bullshit "gray rape" theory.

Some violence against women statistics:
Rape Statistics Statistics on Young Women and Violence
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