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Education Key to Preventing Date Rape

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NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editors of The Crimson:

Date and acquaintance rape is an issue that has become visible on campus as is evident from your articles of October 26, and November 6 and 8. Each time it is discussed the main focus is on how to deal with the offense.

This is an extremely important issue. However, it is important to deal with date rape by bringing it down to a personal level for each student, faculty, and staff member (male and female) at Harvard. People (students, faculty and staff) need to be educated; only through education can you hopefully obtain prevention of this crime.

Emphasis should be put into programming awareness on campus. People need to understand what date rape and sexual assault are, to realize that it does happen here where they work and live. The statistics do not lie.

Last year I became very involved with a program at Trinity College (The Sexual Assault Task Force) that dealt with sexual assault. While casually discussing this issue with my friends, I discovered that seven of them had been sexually assaulted or date raped (keep in mind this is not a very easy thing to admit to yourself, let alone tell someone).

In another incident one my male friends started speaking to me and ended up in tears because of a situation his girlfriend had gone through. We had an open microphone where women and men came forward with their experiences and emotions. Of course, we had a number of people who thought we were making a big deal out of nothing, denying that this was a common occurrence on campus.

But through the actions and programming of the Sexual Assault Task Force we were able to show the population of Trinity that in fact these things did occur, and in alarming numbers.

Once people are alerted to this horrible problem that exists, then maybe the issue can be faced. It is not through how administration deals with the incidents that date rape is confronted, but with each individual understanding what date/acquaintance rape is, how it happens, what the aftermath involves and that it is not the victims' fault.

She did not ask for it, and she is not to blame.

By achieving awareness and being educated about this issue, date/acquaintance rape and sexual assault will be less of a taboo topic, thus encouraging discussion and understanding. As a result the victims will be treated as they should and provided with all the facilities and support that they should have. Meg Watters

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