Letter to the editor: Prevent rape, not false reports of it

In response to Phil Brown’s column regarding avoiding false reports of rape, the Student Health Prevention Services Department would like to share some information to help you better understand rape.

While one in five women will be raped during college, research by David Lisak shows that it’s actually a very small percentage of men doing the raping. Rapists are not college men who are misunderstood; evidence shows that most men won’t commit sexual assault, and rapes are rarely the result of poor communication and unclear intentions. The vast majority of rapes are committed by serial predators who identify victims, groom, isolate, psychologically manipulate and use only as much physical force as is necessary to complete their assault. Perpetrators prowl for victims where alcohol is being consumed and use it deliberately to facilitate their intention to rape.

Avoiding false reports of rape is not where we should be focusing our energy. We should be focusing on how we can prevent rape. There are numerous men and women who are part of the social environment in which rapes happen. The most effective way to help prevent rape is for them to identify perpetrators and intervene in high-risk situations. This can include not leaving your friends alone, getting friends to help interrupt a dangerous situation or calling 911 if you’re afraid for a friend. A full list of bystander intervention techniques can be found at www.health.iastate.edu/prevention.

We agree with the author that “reporting is essential to reducing the incidence of rape,” and 24-hour assistance is available for survivors of sexual assault through Access at 515-292-5378.