U.V.A. Rape Victim Comes Forward, Putting Spotlight On Red Zone Danger
Julia Dixon was a freshman when she was attacked in her dorm room by another student.
She told INSIDE EDITION, "I was raped the second weekend of my college career."
Explaining what happened, she said, "I had pushed him away. I had tried to hurt him and nothing worked. Finally, he turned me over and he raped me."
It happened at the University of Akron in 2008 during the notorious period known as the "Red Zone," the time when college starts until Thanksgiving break when freshmen coeds are most vulnerable to sexual assault.
Another student identified only as Jackie has started a national firestorm in the new issue of Rolling Stone with her story of being gang raped by seven fraternity brothers at the prestigious University of Virginia just one month into her freshman year.
Julia said, "When you go into college, you want to make friends. You want to hang out. You don't want to be anti-social. Unfortunately, especially the first couple weeks of college, that creates kind of a perfect storm for perpetrators who are looking to victimize people."
Student predators tend to target freshmen as naive and inexperienced drinkers.
It's such an epidemic that self defense expert Steve Kardian holds seminars for incoming freshmen. His advice is don't be too trusting.
In one of his seminars, Kardian told students, "You're a little bit too young, you're a little bit too trusting, and you haven't yet developed the tactics to deal with a predator."
Both Julia and Jackie criticize their universities for, in their opinion, treating rape as a P.R. problem.
Jackie quoted a U.V.A Dean as saying, "...nobody wants to send their daughter to the rape school." (Source: Rolling Stone)
In the wake of the Rolling Stone article, U.V.A. has suspended fraternity parties until January.
A fraternity leader had this to say about Jackie's account of being gang raped: "It makes me personally sick to my stomach to think about what happened that one night."
Jackie was once a straight-A student at U.V.A., but told Rolling Stone that she has failed courses and gained 25 pounds since the alleged gang rape.
Julia was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and her grades also slipped.
Now, Julia and Jackie hope that their stories will alert other coeds to the epidemic of campus rape.
Julia said, "You think you have all these checkmarks. For me it was, 'Well, if I don't drink and I don't hang out with boys I don't know, I don't do anything that's deemed risky behavior really, this will probably not happen to me.' And that was not the case for me in my freshman year."