By Melissa Prentice
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Although most people are uncomfortable talking about date rape, organizers of last Thursday's forum know discussion and planning are essential in preventing it.
National statistics show that one in four college women will be raped or suffer attempted rape and that women age 16 to 24 are four times more likely than any other age group to be rape victims, said George Jenson, the Kappa Sigma advisor who facilitated discussion at the Associated Students of the University of Arizona-Kappa Sigma forum.
"But statistical reports don't really matter. The simple point is that rapes do happen. I know people who were raped and I don't care for that. I know some of you who raped," Jenson said.
About one-fourth of the 60 students who attended the forum indicated that they knew someone who had been raped or had been raped themselves.
"If you have peers who are victims waiting to happen, can you help them?" Jenson asked. "The strategy to prevent date rape is very different than the strategy to prevent other types of rape. The keys to prevention are good communication and decision making."
"Those of us who are here are obviously concerned about the problem, but we need to take the message back to our friends," said Keli Farinech, an ASUA presidential staff member. "If you are going to go to a party, go with a friend and plan to check up on each other."
Ethan Orr, forum planner and undergraduate senator said, "The most important aspect of the forum was that people were actively discussing a topic that really needs to be discussed and people were able to think about the issue and try to see it through each other's eyes."
Although she did not talk at the forum, Amanda Ebel, a political science and economics junior, said she learned from the discussion.
"I gained a lot of insight into the situation, which I hadn't really thought a lot about, and I realized the importance of planning beforehand so I don't get into a date rape situation," she said.
But Adina Wolf, director of Campus Acquaintance Rape Educators, said large forums are not usually the most effective way to reach a large number of students.
"Date rape is such a sensitive issue, many people don't want to identify themselves in front of a large group," Wolf said. "Talking about the topic is usually more effective in smaller groups because the people know the other people in the group and feel more comfortable talking."
CARE gives about 25 presentations about date rape each semester at residence halls, Greek houses and clubs, she said.
Farinech and ASUA President T.J. Trujillo distributed red and blue whistles with the Escort Center phone number printed on them. ASUA plans to continue distributing more than 3,000 whistles in an attempt to "increase awareness of campus safety," Trujillo said.
The ASUA Escort Service's number is 621-7233. Call 621--2782 for more information about CARE.
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