Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Survey at UGa Shows High Numbers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Survey at UGa Shows High Numbers

Article excerpt

ATHENS -- As many as one in five University of Georgia women may have been the victim of date rape sometime in their lives, according to preliminary results from an ongoing study.

Nearly 13 percent of the students surveyed told Pamela Orpinas of UGa's Department of Health Promotion and Behavior that they had been the victim of date rape, when a date or acquaintance used physical force on them to have sex.

An additional 8 percent were not sure that what happened to them could be correctly called rape, according to the study.

When Orpinas surveyed 99 UGa women in the fall semester, nearly one in four -- 24 percent -- said they'd been "in a situation where they felt it was useless to try to stop the man from having unwanted sex."

Nearly one in five, 18 percent, said a man had given them alcohol or a drug in an effort to get sex from them, according to Orpinas' research.

The numbers may seem high -- but not to professionals in law enforcement and health.

Stranger rapes, such as last month's sexual assault of a UGa woman abducted at gunpoint as she walked across North Campus, get the most publicity, but a woman is far more likely to be raped by someone she knows, say the experts.

"Rape by an acquaintance, by someone you're voluntarily with, is far more common than a creepy-stranger-crawling-in-the- window-kind of rape," said Lt. Alan Brown, head of the Athens-Clarke Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division.

"I'm not shocked at all [at Orpinas' numbers], because that's what I deal with," said Gloria Varley, a UGa Health Services educator.

Orpinas' numbers are based on only a small sample of 99 students, but they are consistent with larger surveys like the Centers for Disease Control's 1995 "National College Health Risk Behavior Survey," which reported that 17 percent of women and 4 percent of men ages 18 to 24 said someone had forced them to have sex sometime in their lives.

The survey "just shows that the problem exists here. It's not better or worse than any other place, but it's a problem," Orpinas said.

"I don't know what the actual numbers are, but I would tend to believe it is one of the most under-reported crimes that we deal with," Brown said of Orpinas' date rape findings. …

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