This semester, the Student Life office will be sponsoring a speaker series on sexual assault awareness. These presentations range in topics from consent to the judicial process of a sexual assault case. They are endorsed by the Ribbons of Excellence and can provide helpful and educational resources for victims of sexual assault.
Today, college campuses are among the most vulnerable locations for sexual assault. Many statistics show that one in five women have been or will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime and over half of college women who are sexually assaulted to not report it to the proper authorities. Sexual assault is not a gendered issue, but rather a generational issue. Today’s college students have the power to create change with regard to sexual violence and misconduct through educational programs and series such as this one.
The series began on Jan. 23 with a presentation entitled, “The C-World: Consent,” held in Dawson Auditorium. This Title IX-compliant program used sketches and interactive examples to demonstrate the power and necessity of consent in society today. The two presenters discussed the definition of consent, the difference between hard and soft no’s, and the potential dangers in victim blaming, as well as giving tips to aid in a possible sexual assault. These topics were discussed not as a lecture, but rather as an interactive forum for all students to talk to each other about the issues in a less stressful manner. Students were able to learn techniques and methods to help prevent a possible assault without feeling uncomfortable.
The remaining three presentations of this series were held throughout the month of February. On Feb. 6, Judge Anzalone and Detective Lanford discussed the legal process of a sexual assault case, including investigation, punishment, and types of cases brought forward. Feb. 13 featured a discussion with nurse Dawn Marsh and counselor Monique Savage on the physical and mental challenges that someone may experience when they are sexually assaulted, as well as the options available to victims. In the final presentation on February 20, Dean Schwyn and Director Beitelschies discussed how Adrian College processes a sexual assault case when it is reported on campus.
This series was inspired by Dean Schwyn and her mission to continue to improve sexual assault awareness on campus. She assisted with sexual assault at Title IX cases for many years as the Deputy Director at the college and wanted to continue this work when she became the Dean of Students.
“I thought it would be an innovative idea to begin with the interactive program like ‘The C-Word’”, said Schwyn. “Then I thought we could continue for a few more sessions that stem from that topic. This is a huge epidemic on college campuses.”
With the implementation of this series, Schwyn and the Student Life office hopes that this series will continue for many years into Adrian College’s programs, including Welcome Week orientation. This will help students coming to campus not only be aware of the risk of sexual violence, but also provide information and resources that could assist them should they ever be in that situation.
If a student is involved in a sexual assault, there are many options available. They have a choice to report it either to school authorities or law enforcement, as well as talk to school counselors and nurses. These resources are here to help and can assist in the physical, emotional, and mental trauma that comes with an assault of this nature. They are also confidential and will not reveal personal information without consent.
Sexual assault, while an increasing issue, does not have to be an ongoing issue. This series can help students prevent assault and possibly bring an end to this epidemic.