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Forum Offers Help in Preventing Date Rape on College Campuses

By Jamie Sinclair
Contributing Writer
November 7, 2007

It’s 3:30 a.m. and you’ve somehow lost your friends, your purse and your ability to think clearly.  The host of the party doesn’t seem particularly concerned that you have no way home, and you’re beginning to wonder if perhaps you’ve put yourself in a dangerous situation.

Many women at Virginia Tech have experienced a situation similar to the one above before.  Although most women get home safe and sound, unfortunately, bad things can happen in party atmospheres.

For example, according to a 1992 college survey conducted by the National Victim Center, one in four college women have been raped or suffered attempted rape.

Dr. Neal King, a professor of Interdisciplinary studies, will speak on date rape Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in 233 Engel Hall.

The forum, entitled “Dynamics of Party-oriented Rape on College Campuses” will be hosted by Women’s Studies and the Women’s Center.

Dr. King will give an academic report targeted towards an undergraduate audience.  He will discuss why date rape happens and gear his presentation towards intervention strategies – discussing both what works as well as what doesn’t.

“I hope to give the audience a sense of how partying is organized,” said Dr. King.  “How space is used… where the liquor is put and so forth.  I want to give them a sense of the system or organization of parties.  Date rape isn’t just about predators, stupidity or individual personalities.”

As a graduate student, Dr. King conducted research on date rape and partying atmospheres, and has kept up with the literature on the topic.  He has spoken at numerous other occasions including events hosted by the Women’s Studies department during its “Take Back the Night” event.

“Dynamics of Party-oriented Rape on College Campuses” is part of the “Through Feminist Eyes” lecture series. 

“The series is designed to supplement and enrich students’ learning through faculty presentations of their research,” said Women’s Studies professor Dr. Barbara Smith, a coordinator of the series.

Smith said the Women’s Studies department does four lectures each semester.

For more information about the “Through Feminist Eyes” lecture series visit the Women’s Studies website at http://www.idst.vt.edu/ws/ or the Women’s Center website at http://www.womenscenter.vt.edu/.


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