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As of today, 999 University students are in a high risk category of becoming a victim of acquaintance rape. Students Together Against Acquaintance Rape coordinators and University Police officials say these first semester freshmen women are one of the most vulnerable populations at the University. "The first semester is the high risk time," STAAR advisor Susan Villari said earlier this month. "We call it the 'red zone.' " University Police Officer Patrick Chad, who works with Victim Support Services, said there are several explanations for the high risk period. He said many freshmen want to make friends, are not suspicious of others, drink alcohol excessively at parties, and often feel isolated. Villari said freshmen women go to many parties, and coupled with a lack of knowledge about acquaintance rape, they may unknowingly put themselves in a position of vulnerability. One College sophomore who asked not to be identified said she felt some of her peers during her freshman year were more vulnerable "just because they don't really have a clue [about acquaintance rape]." In addition to the innocence of many freshmen women, STAAR coordinators and Anthropology Professor Peggy Sanday, author of Fraternity Gang Rape: Sex, Brotherhood and Privilege on Campus, say some men capitalize on females' openness and desire to make friends. "[Fraternity men] lie in wait for incoming women students, who are the targets" of sexual attention, Sanday said last week. STAAR Executive Board Member Beth Kaplan said she believes that when freshmen arrive on campus they are trusting and unaware of previous incidents of rape and therefore do not consider that it can happen to them. "I believe that some men target freshman women as a group to pursue," Kaplan said. "There is definitely evidence of that." Villari agreed that some upperclass men "prey on women." But she said she was hopeful this attitude could be overcome through continuing peer education. A College freshman, who asked not to be identified, said she agreed her class was at risk and said, "We are more trusting and unaware of what to expect."

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