Survey in Samoa: 25 percent of respondents say they were sexually assaulted

Photo Credit: 
J. Kneubuhl
IN THE FRONT LINES: Students Nairy Galemoa and Michela Tarrant with Mona Uli of the Alliance, Psychology instrucor Derek Helsham, Acting Dean of Academic Affairs Evelyn Fruean, Veterans Center Director Robert Toelupe, and staff advisor Rocky Mane.

Two days prior to the Forum, members of the Psychology Club conducted a survey on campus of approximately 140 ASCC students.

Ensuring confidentiality, the Club discovered that the issue of sexual assault hits far closer to home than they had previously imagined.

Twenty-five percent of the respondents said they had experienced sexual assault of some form, whether rape, attempted rape, molestation or incest.

Of the students that reported experiencing sexual assault, 46% said they kept it to themselves because they were afraid or because they didn’t know who they could tell.

Only 34% of students surveyed said they felt they could talk to their parents, while 17% said they preferred to talk to siblings, friends or teachers. Many were reluctant to go to clergy, village leaders or sports coaches.

Sixty-two percent of the ASCC students surveyed said Sex Education was not offered at their grade school. Fifty-four percent agreed that it is important to offer sex education in grade school because it’s normal for kids to be curious about sex, and therefore, it helps to educate students beforehand so that when they get older they can make more informed decisions.

Lastly, although 48% agree that rape is completely on the part of the rapist, a surprising 36% felt the victim was also partly to blame because of where they were at the time, what they were wearing, or whether or not they were intoxicated.

“This alone tells us that we need more education, awareness and training on the topic of sexual violence,” commented Mrs. Uli.

“Rape is never the fault of the victim, regardless of whether the victim is five years old, 25 years old or 50 years old. Rape is not even about sex. It’s a way for one person to exert power and control over another. Most rapists are sexually aggressive to make up for their various insecurities.”

More information on where sexual assault victims can turn for help is available from the Alliance for Strengthening Families, who can be reached at 699-0272.

ASCC students seeking support on-campus should contact Lead Counselor Ms. Annie Panama, whose office is located in the Cafeteria Building and whose campus extension is 326.