Contra Costa district attorney gives presentation on sexual assault awareness and intervention


Mahrukh Siddiqui

Angela Lyddan (left), Diane Weiss, Marlen Valenzuela (center), Laura Delehunt, and Paul Graves (right) inform attendants about sexual assault.

Mahrukh Siddiqui, Staff Writer

Paul Graves, Senior Deputy district attorney for Contra Costa County, held a presentation on sexual assault awareness and intervention on April 12th at Diablo Valley College.

The presentation kicked off a list of events being helped at DVC in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness month.

Graves’ presentation consisted of statistics and common misconceptions about sexual assault and rape as well as what we can do to prevent such atrocities and help victims.

According to Graves, one in five female college students have been a victim of rape or attempted rape and 85 percent of those victims don’t report to it.

Graves also said that a 2002 study of 1,882 part-time college students under the age of 28 in Boston found that 120 men committed 483 rapes, and an alarming rate were repeat offenders. Most also were  never reported to authorities as well.

“We need to change that dialogue. We need to make it safe for people to report and we need to encourage them to report so we can stop this,” said Graves. “Most of what I see are late reports, at least three days to two weeks later, when they do report.”

He also stated that our vocabulary and excusing behavior needs to stop. With notions such as “boys will be boys,” being so prevalent, it dispels myths that men have no control over their bodily functions. The victim blaming and shaming needs to stop.

According to Graves, in regards to questioning the validity of an assault, “since you weren’t there and you don’t know, never make an assumption.”

After the presentation a panel answered questions posed by audience members and gave advice.

The resounding sentiment was to not keep quiet about things.

“Err on the side of caution and report,” said Deputy District Attorney Diane Weiss.

Students can find resources reporting and counseling for sexual assault, rape and domestic violence at