With topics ranging from rapist stereotypes to student activism as a method of change, this semester’s final sexual assault panel continued contributing to campus discussions of rape.
The working group RAPE: Perceptions, Realities, Responses hosted a public forum Monday entitled “Is rape different at college?”
The discussion, which was the fourth in a series, is funded by a grant from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Program in Sexuality Studies.
Robert Pleasants, interpersonal violence prevention coordinator for UNC Campus Health Services, said the common perception of a rapist is inaccurate.
“The rapist that everyone is afraid of is someone jumping out of the bushes with a weapon,” he said.
Pleasants also said this perceived assailant is typically an African-American male — despite 90 percent of assaults being intra-racial. He said this myth leaves white men on campus unmarked and allows undetected rapists to continue their crimes.
“Of the majority of sexual assaults that happen on campus, 90 percent are from men who are repeat rapists,” he said.
Pleasants said undetected rapists are good at identifying likely victims, testing their boundaries and premeditating attacks.
Because it is a common notion that a rapist uses a weapon, undetected rapists who use psychological weaponry — power, control, manipulation and threats — that can be backed up by physical force often fly under the radar.