Dynamics of Sexual Assault

College Sexual Assault

16-24: The most common age range for sexual assault victims and perpetrators.

1 in 4 college students are estimated to become victims of sexual assault before graduation.

85-90% of college sexual assaults are perpetrated by non-strangers.

• Alcohol is the most common “date rape” drug.

WAVES is dedicated to changing the attitudes, beliefs and misconceptions that continue to perpetuate facts like these. WAVES strives to create a Mason community in which victims feel supported and perpetrators are held accountable. WAVES provides confidential, culturally competent advocacy and direct services free to any member of the campus community impacted by these issues: survivors, their families, significant others, and friends.

If you want to learn about how you can support victims of sexual assault come to our free Emerge training!

Perpetrators of Sexual Violence

People who commit sexual violence are often thought of as psychopaths who jump out of the bushes at night. But, 9 out of 10 college campus perpetrators are in the same social group as their victim. Perpetrators can be anyone from dating partners, friends, classmates, coworkers to acquaintances. They can be attractive, charming and capable of engage in consensual sex. Perpetrators most often use alcohol to facilitate sexual assault and rarely is violent force used.

Because many perpetrators are never held liable for their actions their crimes continue. Two of the most effect ways to prevent sexual assault are:

  1. Holding perpetrators accountable
  2. Becoming an engaged bystander.

If you want to learn more about how to be an agent of change and violence prevention on Mason’s campus come check out our engaged bystander training, Anyone Can!

Victims of Violence

There is no typical victim of sexual violence.

Many victims feel responsible for the assault because of society’s belief that victim behavior (What were they wearing? How much did they have to drink? Why were they alone with this person?) plays a role in sexual violence.

Ironically, the only person who is responsible for the assault, the perpetrator, is the one who commonly feels no responsibility and is often excused by society for their actions. This belief system must be challenged.

No action or decision is ever a “rapeable” offense.

Click here to learn about how different life factors can impact victims of violence including those who are male, LGBTQ, have different ability levels, older, have a mental illness, survivors of childhood sexual assault, and refugees and immigrants.

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