Rape cases decline but still an issue

For the first time in nearly two years, only one rape was reported during a single semester.

“As of this fall semester, we have one allegation of rape, which is currently under investigation,” said Lt. Louis Wichers, supervisor of investigations for the FAMU Police Department.

To continue to reduce rapes, Natasha O. Clayton, health specialist and victim advocate at FAMU’s Center for Human Development, encourages students to first dispel the myths that they may have about rape and to be more conscious of their surrounding.

“Do not think that because you are on campus that you are safe,” Clayton said.

“I’m not implying that FAMU is a less safe environment than any other university,” she said. “However, it is important for students to keep in mind that FAMU is a microcosm of the entire society.”

Clayton said many rapes involve attackers who are known by their victims.

“Eighty-eight percent of rape victims know their attackers,” Clayton said.

Clayton wants to remind students that rape is not a punishment.

“No one wants or deserves to be raped,” she said, “regardless of the way they dress or the way they act.”

Wichers agreed and said that students take precaution about the people they meet in clubs or around campus.

“A lot of cases involve attackers who are, in some form, an acquaintance with the victim; whether they met in a club or even in class,” he said.

Sgt. Norman Rollins, special operations coordinator for the FAMU SAFE Team, emphasized that many rape victims do not report the rape to the police. “Not everyone (victim) comes forward,” Rollins said.

Clayton agreed.

“Ninety percent of the victims that I have seen have not reported their incident to the police,” she said.

Wichers said in order to prevent rape, students should travel in numbers to parties and other events.

“Every case is different,” Wichers said. “But it is important (for students) to be aware of your surroundings. Don’t go to parties alone or leave alone. There is safety in numbers.”