The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 25, 1991 - Page 5
by Henry Goldblatt
Daily Staff Reporter
For the past few days, many
University students have idly
glanced at Sexual Assault Aware-
ness week balloons being handed out
in the Diag without giving the issue
of acquaintance rape much thought.
Many of these same students
will be raped in their lifetime,
likely by someone they know. Af-
terward, they may face disbelief, or
even blame, from a society that
might suggest "they asked for it."
"The only thing I asked for that
night was for him to stop," said
rape survivor Jenny Cass, an LSA
Those who are raped say the ex-
perience lasts a lifetime.
"There is a fear of being betrayed
again ... of getting into another sit-
uation in which you have no control
or couldn't make decisions," said
Margaret, an RC sophomore and an
acquaintance rape survivor who
to admit I personally lost control."
Margaret didn't seek counseling
until the beginning of last winter
term, more than a year after the in-
cident. She participated in both
group and individual counseling
with Sexual Assault Prevention and
Awareness Center (SAPAC) coun-
selor Kata Issari, who said Mar-
garet's reactions are not unusual.
"Some of the most common de-
nominators (in cases of rape or sex-
ual harassment) are self blame, re-
luctance to trust other people... fear
of it happening again and a lot of
grief... and anger," Issari explained.
According to FBI statistics, one
in three women and one in ten men
will be sexually assaulted during
their lifetimes. SAPAC Director
Julie Steiner said studies have been
conducted that show the rate for
women to be as high as one in five
during the college years.
"The biggest myth is that most
"There is a lot of activity in the
court that discounts the serious ex-
perience of women who are sexually
Margaret said a court case forces
the survivor to relive many of the
painful feelings already resolved in
counseling. "I would never dream
of pressing charges after having
dealt with it for two years myself,"
Student rape survivors can file a
report with the University under
the 1989 interim policy on discrim-
inatory conduct. Since the policy
does not deal with rape, but only
sexual harassment, rape charges may
be handled in the same way as a
Steiner said the policy is flawed
because it does not mention rape. She
said the University needs a policy
that explicitly outlaws rape, pro-
tects the survivor, and has a rape
shield clause, which nrohibits an at-
Greek system is not insensitive to
rape prevention issues, problems do
"There is a higher rate of (rape)
in the Greek system than on cam-
puses in general. A lot has to do
with the fact that so many parties
go on in fraternities and that there is
a lot of alcohol," Steiner said.
"There is definitely a problem in
the Greek system, but I don't be-
lieve it's system-wide," said Sunil
Trevedi, president of Order of
Omega, the Greek honor society.
"There are fraternities that are...
known for not treating women with
respect and as equals."
"A part of the system... sup-
ports some attitudes that allow
people to commit rape, such as peer
pressure, pressure to have sex and
have it often, and the kind of things
people don't think we know about
such as 'Stick a Pig' parties," Steiner
said. "These things convey the atti-
tude that women are not really pco-
Steiner said approximately one-
third of SAPAC's programming
takes place in the Greek system.
However, Trivedi said this pro-
gramming often does not target the
people who need it most.
"Prevention workshops which
people have to go to is almost like
pulling tooth and nails. To be hon-
est, the people who most need to go
won't go. We need to bring the
workshops to the people," he
Julie Mangurten, president of
Alpha Chi Omega sorority, said rape
prevention education needs to begin
in the sorority house.
"We tell (our pledges) not to
feel pressure to drink, that there are
non-alcoholic beverages available
and if they feel unable to walk home
to get someone else," she said.
"People can relate to personal expe-
riences - they carry a lot more
While president of Alpha Tau
Omega fraternity, Trevedi said he
took initiatives, such as posting
numbers for Safewalk and cab
companies in the bathroom.
However, if an incident of sexual
assault occurs in a fraternity house,
the Interfraternity Council lacks
formal guidelines to handle it.
"Our role is not policing that
type of activity," said IFC Presi-
dent Matt Commers. "That is an is-
sue between the woman and man and
the court system."
Some sororities are lobbying na-
tional chapters to change policies
that ban men from private areas of
"Women might feel more com-
fortable being able to be in their
own rooms. If they are in a guy's
room, they are stranded there, if it's
late at night and they don't want to
walk home by themselves," said
Mangurten, whose sorority is try-
ing to make that switch.
"And where a party is held
makes a difference," Steiner said.
"If a woman gets sick and has to go
lay down, she is more in peril in a
fraternity man's room than in her
own or a friend's room."
While campus-wide education
continues with SAPAC programs
and information tables, stirring
people to think about the issue re-
mains a challenge.
"We need to make both men and
women unlearn all of the things
they learned about what it means to
be a man or a woman," Steiner said.
Trivedi said that people need to
take an active role in educating their
friends and encouraging them to at-
tend programs. "Executive boards
should talk to their friends and tell
them to do programming or to tell
your friends, 'You do have a prob-
lem and people can't just cover it
up.' Then they'd be more willing to
have these workshops."
But no policy or programming
can eradicate Margaret's feelings.
"There is still a constant fear. I
don't know if I ever will feel the
same about sexual situations."
Maybe Rep. Gaylord Griswold
of New York knew, during the
debate over the Louisiana
Purchase back in 1803, that one
run for- Stephen
with a fair
chance of f-lndemSOn
when he said
territories into the Union would
allow for undue and unwanted
influence over the country's
If he did, he's probably
enjoying a big, "I told you so,"
Duke, a former KKK grand
wizard, is uncomfortably close to
getting his rear end into the
highest seat in Louisiana. And
he's doing it with a Republican
name tag, a fact that has everyone
from George Bush to Michigan
Gov. John Engler scrambling to
They even got John Sununu
out of the president's dog house
to say the Republicans wanted
nothing to do with Duke.
But when you think carefully
about it, and look closely at
Duke's platform, is he really that
much different from other
Duke talks a lot about getting
rid of the "welfare state" and
getting "able-bodied" people out
of the house and off to work.
Not six months ago, our
beloved Gov. Engler was essen-
tially saying the same thing. And
the State of Michigan now has
about 80,000 "able-bodied" adults
off of government assistance, but
not quite off to work yet.
Duke also goes after affirma-
tive action programs, claiming
they promote "reverse discrimina-
tion" and set racial quotas
contradicting the principles of
Last year, our Republican
president in Washington vetoed
the 1990 Civil Rights Bill on the
same grounds. Today, we have
women and ethnic minorities in
the workplace who are largely
unprotected from the real
discrimination that still takes
And don't forget, this same
Republican president sealed his
own election in 1988 with the
now infamous Willie Horton
cheap shot, in which he used a
Black man's felony during a
weekend furlough to get the
"racial resentment" votes.
Duke also garnered 44 percent
of the vote in Louisiana's last
U.S. Senate race, running as a
Republican against a three-term
The fact is, racial politics have
been the game of choice among
Republicans for some time now;
David Duke is just a little more
forthcoming and politically
unwise about it all.
The most glaring difference
between David Duke and other
Republicans is not so much in
their policies, but in the fact that
we have pictures of him running
around with a sheet on his head.
Of course, I find it trouble-
some that the people of Louisiana
don't seem to be able to recognize
this difference. In fact, if Duke is
elected governor, I think Congress
ought to heed old Gaylord
Griswold's words and try to
renegotiate the purchase with the
French. Maybe they'll take that
part of it back.
But Ialso think the rest of us
should start thinking a little harder
about some of the things the
G.O.P. has come to stand for, and
looking a little harder at the things
Republicans are saying. I doubt
we'll find President Bush burning-
a cross on someone's lawn or
Gov. Engler leading a Klan
mmdep but we' might hep nretty
asked to have her name changed.
"One of the hardest things I ever
did was tell myself that it could
happen again," she said.
Most students spent their senior
year of high school anticipating
homecoming, prom and graduation.
However, Margaret had other
things to worry about.
Margaret was raped by a friend
during the fall of her high school
senior year - and says she is still
For months after the incident,
she couldn't bring herself to tell
anyone about the experience. In fact,
she tried repeatedly to call the man
and maintain a friendship with him.
"I did not tell anyone for at
least three months. As part of the
denial, I tried to talk to him after-
ward, trying to convince myself we
had a friendship," she said.
0 Margaret, who sounded very
matter-of-fact as she described the
incident, said the experience was
particularly painful because the man
was someone she trusted. After a
date, he raped her in his apartment,
where she was forced to stay the
night because she was alone and in an
"I needed several months just to
figure out what happened to me and
be able to call it rape," she recalled.
"I didn't want to admit it was
someone who I respected and who
was a friend."
Margaret said that along with
denial she experienced fear because
her assailant had been close to her.
"I didn't want to admit I had no
- power in the situation. I didn't want
rapes are committed by some crazy
man who is drooling and psychotic
and jumps out of the bushes with a
knife," Steiner said.
She added that the statistic for
men is misleadingly low because
they are reluctant to come forward
after being raped.
"There are a lot of men who are
walking around this campus, who
will never tell anyone because of
the humiliation involved," said
Mary Bejian, co-coordinator of the
SAPAC peer education program.
And yet Steiner estimated that,
despite the statistics, only 10 per-
cent of survivors seek counseling at
"If I get 100 cases per year, there
are at least 1,000 on this campus,
maybe even more," Issari said.
Furthermore, even fewer people
press charges. Of her clients, Issari
said that 30 percent make reports to
law enforcement officers, but only
two to three cases a year are tried in
One reason, Issari said, is that
many prosecutors advise survivors
that they do not have enough evi-
dence to press charges.
Jenny Cass, a rape survivor who
filed a report, said she was discour-
aged from pressing charges for just
this reason. "I can't describe how
bad that makes a person feel," she
"It's difficult enough to actu-
ally bring charges against the as-
sailant. It's difficult to report the
crime and to know that you'll be the
one on trial - not the assailant,"
Issari said the problem involves
a court system that is biased against
the survivor of sexual assault.
"More and more assailants are
torney from delving into sexual
history during a trial.
The current policy, which covers
only incidents of physical force that
occur on University property, pro-
vides for mediation and negotiation
between the accused and the com-
plainant. Possible sanctions include
formal reprimanding, mandatory at-
tendance at sexual assault work-
shops and suspension from specific
Associate Vice President for
Student Services Virginia Nordby
said she received five complaints of
sexual harassment between Septem-
ber 1990 and September 1991. She
attributed the low number to stu-
dent unfamiliarity with the policy.
Students who have been sexually
assaulted can also seek help in a less
formal way. SAPAC - the primary
source of sexual assault counseling
and education at the University -
was opened five and one-half years
ago in response to student concerns
about campus safety and ignorance
of issues, Steiner said
SAPAC offers workshops and
educational programming for class-
es, fraternities and sororities, co-ops
and residence halls. Services include
individual and group counseling for
rape and sexual assault survivors.
Issari - SAPAC's only coun-
selor - said she handles more than
100 cases per year and in any given
week advises 12 to 18 clients. She
said that while some clients come to
her only once or twice, others return
for three to four months.
Members of the University
community often single out the
Greek system as a center for mci-
ple, but objects... and allows them
to justify the behavior of rape."
Panhellenic Association Presi-
dent and LSA senior Katie Kendall
said she believes the negative image
is due to the Greek system's high
profile on campus.
"I think (sexual harassment)
happens in every aspect of this cam=
pus. It is more easy to identify in-
stances in the Greek system because
it holds more visible social func-
tions," she said.