Rape activists take to the road

One in four college women have survived a rape or an attempted rape. To combat this troubling statistic, the men of the “One in Four RV Tour” are speaking to students on college campuses across the nation. This past week the group came to Temple.

The group’s main objective is to teach men how to help women recover from rape and to lower their own likelihood of raping someone. Michael Hanowitz, coordinator of Sexual Assault Counseling and Education, invited the group to educate Temple’s community through programs and discussions.

The programs took place on Sept. 19 and 20. The evening programs were mostly attended by fraternities and athletic teams.

On Sept. 20 the program was targeted primarily toward student athletes. All of the seats in Kiva Auditorium in Ritter Hall were filled on this day. Some attendees were forced to sit in the aisles or stand in the back.

The first half of the program was a rapid succession of facts followed by a short video describing the physical and mental pain a rape entails. The crowd was visibly stirred between each fact.

“Four out of five females who are raped are attacked by someone that she has known usually for at least a year,” Joe Bertini, one of the “One in Four” presenters, said to the group.

Bertini explained that when women are raped, it usually occurs during an everyday circumstance, or a normal situation that has gone bad. He also said that rape is not about the sex as much as it is about the attacker’s assertion of control.

“Unfortunately when it comes to rape and recovering from rape, there is no step by step
solution,” said presenter Evan Brignolo.

The presenters said that there are a few things friends and family members can do to help victims of sexual assault, including encouraging medical attention. Bertini emphasized the importance of hospital testing after rape by saying that one in 500 college students are HIV positive and one in five adults have herpes.

The group also encouraged friends of victims to listen, believe them and refer them to a counselor. Temple students can seek help at Tuttleman Counseling Services, located in the lower level of Sullivan Hall.

The second half of the program was more interactive; the audience asked questions and the speakers presented “what if?” scenarios. The audience responded loudly when asked to imagine a woman they care about being raped. The crowd shouted that the idea of a woman they knew being hurt made them feel terrible, furious, upset and angry.

Bertini said that men must take immediate action if they see someone they know being taken advantage of and stop the situation before anything happens. A member of the audience added that a guy should talk to his friend if they think they are going to make a mistake.

Rami Fakhouri ended the program by saying that 203,000 women are raped in the U.S. each year. That translates to 23 women being raped every hour.

Evan Margulies, a senior football player, said that the program should have been shown to all students, as well as athletes.

“I thought it was a very good program, although some people didn’t take it seriously,” Margulies said.

The “One in Four” group is trying to teach as many students as possible by driving across the country to educate college students everywhere. The group will visit 50 schools by May, driving to each one in an RV.

LeAnne Matlach can be reached at LeAnne.Matlach@temple.edu.

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