Sex, Violation, Power: “Monsters don’t always sleep under the bed. Sometimes they live down the hall.”

Photo illustration by Travis Taylor | Lariat Photo Editor
Photo illustration by Travis Taylor | Lariat Photo Editor
By David Trower
Web Editor

Don’t talk to strangers.

This statement has echoed in classrooms and gymnasiums all across the country for years as children are taught about the dangers they have to watch out for. Children are warned of “stranger danger.” They are taught from a young age that strangers are out to harm them and that they should never talk to or go with someone that they do not know. Children are told there are strangers out there that will touch them in places they are not allowed to touch.

The idea of “stranger danger” often leads people to ignore the fact that children, as well as adults, are more likely to be sexually assaulted by a family member, friend, acquaintance or someone in authority that the victim knows than by a stranger.

According to the 2000 report “Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement” by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (U.S. Department of Justice), 93 percent of juvenile victims and 72.6 percent of adult victims knew their offender. The younger the victim, the more likely it is the offender is a family member.

“No one likes to think that it happens here, but the reality is that monsters don’t always sleep under the bed,” Amy Perkins, executive director for the Waco Advocacy Center, said. “Sometimes they live down the hall.”

Perkins said more than 90 percent of “victims are perpetrated on by someone that they know, a close relative, a family friend. It’s someone that they love, someone that they trust and to be violated in that way is devastating.”

One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted by their 18th birthday, Perkins said. This is backed by research by the National Institute of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Justice as well as research published in journals including the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Journal of Traumatic Stress and Child Abuse & Neglect, the International Journal of the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

According to the Campus Sexual Assault Study prepared for the National Institute for Justice, 20 percent of college women and 6.1 percent of college men will be victims of attempted or actual sexual assault while at college. Based on those statistics and the official fall 2013 enrollment numbers, almost 1,800 women and more than 400 men at Baylor could be a victim of an attempted or actual sexual assault during their time at Baylor.

“Violence can happen to anyone regardless of your sex, your race, your age, any demographic that you have. Predators are not very discriminatory when the prey on people,” Perkins said.

74 percent of rapes involve alcohol and other drugs, according to the American College Health Association Campus Violence White Paper written by Dr. Joetta L. Carr, professor at Western Michigan University and committee chair for the ACHA Campus Violence Committee.

“The problem with sexual assault in a university setting primarily is the fact that almost inevitably it’s going to involve alcohol,” Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak said. “So a lot of young ladies don’t want that to be known that there’s alcohol involved because the parents get involved and they don’t want [that].”

There was one forcible sexual offense on campus in 2006, two in 2007, and two in 2012, according to the Campus Crime Statistics report filed by Baylor in accordance with the Clery Act.

For the purposes of this report, a forcible sexual offense is defined as “Any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent. Forcible sex offenses include: forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object and forcible fondling.”

Doak confirmed they handled two cases during 2012 and both cases were acquaintance rape, meaning the victim and the perpetrator knew each other.

Doak and other Baylor officials, including Bethany McCraw, associate dean for student conduct administration, and John Whelan, Title IX coordinator and associate vice president for human resources, acknowledge these numbers are non-representative of the likely actual number of incidents that occur at Baylor. However, they can only report, investigate and handle the incidences of sexual assault that they are made aware of.

Based on a Texas Public Information Act request filed with the Waco Police Department, The Lariat found that the Waco police have investigated 472 cases of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault spanning from 2011 through the end of October 2013. In the cases investigated by the Waco police, 42 cases occurred in the areas immediately surrounding Baylor. Of those 42 cases, 27 involved a victim 18 or older; three of the 33 victims in those 27 cases were male; and the age range of the victims in those 27 cases ranged from 18-32. In the 42 cases around Baylor, only two involved a female perpetrator, and in both of those cases the victims were minors.

If you are sexually assaulted on Baylor campus, you can contact the Baylor Police at 254-710-2222. If you are sexually assaulted off campus, you can contact the Waco Police at 911 (for emergencies) or 254-750-7500 (for non-emergencies).

You can also seek help from the Waco Advocacy Center by calling 254-752-9330 or the Baylor Counseling Center by calling 254-710-2467.

A sexual assault occurs when the perpetrator intentionally or knowingly:

  • Causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;
  • Causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor [perpetrator], without the person’s consent; or
  • Causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor [perpetrator].

In Texas, a minor for the purposes of sexual assault is anyone that is 17 years of age or younger at the time of the sexual assault.

A sexual assault is classified as an aggravated sexual assault if the victim:

  • Is under the age of 14, or
  • Is an elderly individual or a disable individual.

A sexual assault is classified as an aggravated sexual assault if the perpetrator:

  • Administers or provides flunitrazepam, otherwise known as rohypnol, gamma hydroxy-butyrate, or ketamine to the victim with the intent of committing a sexual assault,
  • Uses or displays a deadly weapon during the course of the sexual assault,
  • Causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the victim or another person during the course of the sexual assault,
  • By acts or words either occurring in the presence of the victim threatens to cause or places the victim in fear that: death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will be imminently inflicted on any person or that any person will become the victim of trafficking, or
  • Acts in concert with another who engages in sexual assault that is directed towards the same victim and occurs during the same criminal episode.

Perpetrators of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault are charged with either a second degree felony which carries a 2-20 year sentence plus the possibility of a fine not to exceed $10,000 or a first degree felony which carries a 5-95 year sentence or life in prison plus the possibility of a fine not to exceed $10,000.