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“1 in 5: The Truth about Rape” panel to raise awareness on sex trafficking, rape prevention

One in five women report being raped, a number that is too high for Ryan Le, the Social and Networking officer at the Alpha Iota Omicron fraternity. Upon learning of the surprising statistics of these crimes Le and his fraternity moved to create an event that would raise awareness and shed light and information on an often undervalued social issue.

Conversations with a friend led Le to realize just how much he (and likely others as well) underestimate the problem of sexual violence and rape. Le then set out to discover the truth about rape.

“We were talking about it one day and the estimates he told me seemed way too high in my mind. I later found out that they were actually too low,” Le said.

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Le began to do research after talking with his friend on statistics concerning rape. He discovered in the Center for Disease Control’s 2010 “National Sexual Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey” that the statistics were far more disturbing.

“One in five women reported being raped, 80 percent of them before their 25th birthday. In 90 percent of the cases the victims knew their rapist,” Le said.

The numbers are even worse for college students, particularly female students. Twenty-five percent of college females reported being raped and in another survey according to Le, ninety-five percent of all cases involving rape go unreported.

According to Georgia State’s 2010 crime report there was only one reported rape among more than 30,000 students. However, in the surrounding city of Atlanta that year there were 89 incidents of rape per 100,000 people.

These disturbing figures stirred Le to action, and led him to enlist the help of his fellow brothers.

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“I decided to get my fraternity involved and to help me create an event to raise awareness. The night I approached all 17 of my fellow brothers to give a speech on an issue that is too often neglected, they let me know they were ready to help. When I finished my speech I looked each of them in the eye and each [brother] looked back at me just as determined to make a difference,” Le said.

Le who had no prior experience organizing a Georgia State event then began the steps for planning and began contacting experts on the topic to speak at a panel addressing rape and sexual violence.

“I wanted speakers who could address the issues that a college student may face. Speakers who can identify risky situations and give students the necessary tools to prevent rape, thus I invited Dr. Jill Lee Barber,” Le said.

Dr. Barber is the director of the Georgia State counseling center and will be speaking at the panel alongside Aparna Bhattacharyya of Raksha Inc., a South Asian advocacy and domestic abuse counseling group in Atlanta, as well as student speakers.

Le and his brothers also thought it would be pertinent to include information about sex trafficking at the panel. This rising and often unknown issue is a major problem in large urban cities, with Atlanta being one of highest ranked cities for sex trafficking. Showing the relatively slow call to action on this issue, Le says, is the ruling only just in 2011 that protected victims of sex-trafficking from charges of prostitution.

“We wanted to shed more light on this issue as well [of sex trafficking]. I reached out to Courtney Dow, the Director of Nightlight, a worldwide organization that addresses this issue,” Le said.

The panel will be held March 25th, in the Speaker’s Auditorium, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Each speaker will give a short presentation and then audience members will have a chance to question and converse with the speakers.

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