Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April has been designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted with the majority of victims being under 30 years old. This puts college-age students at a higher risk. Women ages 18-24 who are college students are three times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. Men are also affected by sexual violence with 1 in 33 having experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime and male college-age students being 78% more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault. Further, 21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, noncomforming) students have been sexually assaulted compared to 18% of non-TGQN females and 4% of non-TGQN males.
The Dean of Students office provides workshops, trainings, and tabling events to educate the campus community about sexual assault. If you haven’t attended a Consent Circle (#fairplay), Sexual Misconduct workshop, Escalation workshop, Behind the Post workshop, or Consent table talk, please visit the University Calendar for upcoming events.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are resources available to support you. You can peruse the Dean of Students website or Student Victim Assistance for more information about sexual assault awareness.
Bystander Intervention strategies are discussed in the Dean of Students office workshops to the university community. If you that someone needs help, there are ways for you to help. Everyone has different comfort levels of intervening, so choose the way that makes you most comfortable and safe. Here are some strategies:
- Direct: Intervene by saying or doing something to stop the situation.
For example, if someone is trying to take an intoxicated student to a room, you can directly intervene by taking the person aside and saying, “Hey, they look drunk. I do not think that’s a good idea.”
- Distract: Redirect the attention of those involved toward something else by making some sort of distraction.
For example, if a couple is arguing and things are getting heated, you can call one of the person’s cellphone or you can tell one of them that someone is outside urgently looking for him/her.
- Delegate: Get help from someone who is more suitable to handle the situation. This is a good option if you do not feel safe directly intervening, you are not sure what to do, or you simply do not want to get directly involved.
For example, if you are at a party and someone is trying to get someone else intoxicated, you can alert the party host.
Everyone can take an active role in increasing their safety and the safety of those they care about. Although there is no way to completely eliminate the chance that something may happen, there are strategies that may reduce risk and help prevent sexual assault. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) offers the following tips to help reduce risk for different types of crimes, including sexual violence:
- Know how to connect with valuable campus resources (e.g., Dean of Students office, Student Health Clinic, Counseling and Testing Center, Campus Police, Student Victim Assistance)
- Be aware of your surroundings when moving around on campus, have a friend join you or ask for escort services from Campus Police
- Be careful about posting your location when using social media sites