It's extremely sad that the chief investigator of the Georgetown University Protective Service dared to suggest that a "new women's group on campus is stirring up" rumors of rapes on the Georgetown campus {Metro, Nov. 4}.

As a recent graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, I watched as rape victims emerged from their cell of silence and shame through the vehicle of women's groups -- the only place where they believed they would receive support. As a result, an enlightened campus community began to face the issue of rape, reach out to frightened victims and, most important, believe their hideous stories. Only then, as the community rallied around the victims, were the attackers forced to face the consequences of their crimes.

An attitude like Sgt. Charles Christian's is typical -- and frightening. He was quoted as saying that "if it's happened and we don't know about it, it didn't happen as far as we're concerned." This callousness and ignorance will only result in his being the very last person any woman would run to if she were brave enough to report an attack.

I hope that as an "investigator" he is doing his job and investigating the rumors, rather than dismissing them as a cruel tactic by a group of women who are trying to bring attention to themselves and the subject of rape. All women know what it's like to be afraid. None would try to instill that sense of terror into the hearts of other women for the sake of raising people's consciousness.

Our society has traditionally turned its back on victims of rape, making them too scared and ashamed to come forward with their terrible secrets. They are blamed for provoking their aggressors and are made to feel like criminals if and when they are brave enough to press charges. Victims of rape already face so many obstacles. Let's not throw the presumption of doubt on the part of law enforcement officials in their path as well.

I don't know whether the rapes at Georgetown occurred or not. But if there is any truth to the rumors, and if Sgt. Christian's point of view is indicative of the prevailing attitude among university officials, one can be sure that the rumors will persist, women will remain silent, and rapists will slither away, undetected, into the darkness.

LISA QUIGLEY Alexandria