Officer Bridget Rettke was blunt in her delivery of sexual violence statistics, but her biggest message during the on-campus presentation was that we all play a role in stopping sexual violence.
“Don’t be a bystander, ” said Officer Rettke. “If things do not look right, approach the victim and say, “Hey, are you okay?”
Sexual Violence, a sex act without consent such as rape, fondling, grabbing, stalking, and sexual harrassment can lead to criminal charges IF, and only IF, the victim decides to press charges. “For every two sex crimes that are reported, 108 go unreported, ” said Rettke. The biggest challenge that is faced is the reporting system itself. There are a number of people involved in the process: police officers, detectives, Sexual Assault Nurse Experts (SANE) and case administrators, each having to hear the most intimate details of an attack.
Sixteen to nineteen-year-olds are more likely to be victims of an attack due to inexperience, alcohol consumption, promiscuity and experimental behaviors. Statistically, one in six women will be a victim at some point in their lives; one in 33. Sadly, 89% are victimized by a relative or someone they know.
Rettke pointed out that there is a big difference between healthy, age-appropriate sexuality which may be mutually flirtatious and playful, and sexual violence, which is situation or age-inapppropriate, non-mutual harrassment or violence.
“Sexual attacks are about power and control,” said Rettke.