Greeks address assault

Members of the greek community hope the event raises awarenss of date rape.

Vadim Lavrusik

After having a couple drinks and waking up in an unfamiliar room, learning that an unwanted sexual act was performed could be a disturbing feeling.

“That is a very scary feeling, and that is happening on our campus and we know it,” said Jill Lipski, violence prevention education coordinator at the Aurora Center, which provides education and counseling services related to sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking.

where to go

Sexual Assault Presentation
What: Presented by the Aurora Center
When: 6:15 p.m. today
Where: 28 Peik Hall

Local fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon is collaborating with the Aurora Center and the women in the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma to host an educational event on sexual assault issues at 6:15 p.m. Monday at Peik Hall.

The groups organized the event to raise awareness on sexual assault issues after allegations of women being drugged and sexually assaulted at fraternity parties, said Mike Kenefick, president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

“There have been a lot of allegations and accusations made, and there really hasn’t been much positive action made toward addressing the issue,” Kenefick said.

He said Lipski will give a presentation and the groups will then have an open conversation, asking questions such as: What do Rohypnol pills – better known as roofies – look like, and what can we do to work against it?

“It is pretty despicable, to be honest with you, that our fraternity is being associated with roofy-ing girls and sexually assaulting them,” he said. “It really keeps me up at night.”

Kenefick said the issue isn’t a greek community issue but a campus-wide issue.

Lipski, who has worked with sexual assault victims for nine years, said she agreed.

Roofies

Sexual assaults aided by date-rape drugs such as roofies are not as rare on campus as one would hope, and 90 percent of the victims are assaulted by a close acquaintance, Lipski said.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Rohypnol is illegal in the United States but legally sold in Latin America and Europe to treat insomnia. People abuse the drug for the use of rape, because it causes anterograde amnesia, in which the user cannot remember any events that occurred while on the drug.

But it can be hard to trace.

Dave Golden, director of marketing and public health at Boynton, said the drug leaves the system quickly, making it hard to test for.

And although Rohypnol is a common date-rape drug, there are others.

The most common is alcohol, Lipski said.

Addressing the issue

The heart of the issue is in our culture and the image it portrays of men and women, Lipski said.

Women are portrayed as sex objects and men are portrayed as one-dimensional, dominant individuals who always seek sex, she said.

“That lays the foundation for further violence, attitudes that portray and blur the line between rape and sex,” she said.

Risk reduction, or tips to avoid the situation, isn’t the key, she said. Risk reduction puts the blame on the victim because they feel like they could have done something to avoid the situation when “it is never the victim’s fault,” Lipski said.

“Our approach for violence prevention is everyone has a role in preventing sexual violence,” she said. “Because the issue of sexual violence is so prevalent, it is something that takes a large community effort to make a change.”

Steve Johnson, deputy chief of University police, said the use of date rape drugs on campus is extremely rare when looking at police reports.

“If there is something going on, it is not getting reported to the police,” he said.