Event raises awareness of rape, sexual assault

Students who walked through the Faner Breezeway Tuesday had the opportunity to learn more about sexual assaults and rapes on campus, and how to prevent them.

The “We Demand A Rape Free Campus” event brought these issues to the forefront of students’ minds and made them think more about the ramifications and how to deal with being a victim. They also provided information about safe, consensual sex and programs offered by the the Women’s Center to victims of sexual assault.

According to Information Inc., 1.39 rapes happen per every 1,000 people in Carbondale compared to the national average of 0.27 rapes per 1,000 people.

In 2008, SIUC had 12 reported rapes on campus. compared to 2007’s 11 reported rapes, according to information gathered by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

Jenn Freitag, a prevention educator from the Rape Crisis Services at The Women’s Center, headed Tuesday’s event.

Freitag, a doctoral student from Carbondale studying speech communication, said she wanted to raise awareness of sexual assault issues on campus and how to treat these issues.

She said the event is important because these issues need to be talked about, especially on college campuses.

Freitag said one out of four women is assaulted on college campuses, and most do not report it.

She said women are more prone to sexual assaults during college than at any other times in their lives.

There was also a spot about male sexual assault.

Damien Martin, a sophomore from Chicago studying healthcare management, and Kameron Hill, a sophomore from Peoria studying radio-television, worked the table sponsored by the Progressive Masculinities Mentors.

PMM asked men to sign paper in the shape of hands, signifying that they would not sexually assault women, and sign a petition for a rape-free campus.

As many as 16 percent of males will be sexually assaulted as adults, according to an article by National Prison Rape Elimination Commission.

The event also dealt with sexual assaults toward gays and lesbians.

Jasmin Creek, a junior from Johnston City studying philosophy, represented The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center.

Creek said sexual violence occurs on campus, and the school does not openly talk about the issue.

Some students from the event said they walked away with a new perception of their campus.

Malik Thigpen, a junior from Hillcrest studying business management, said the event helped him become more aware of abuse on campus. He said the pictures posted of the sexual assault victims moved him, and the event educated him.

Thigpen said he thinks the event should be held more than once a year and expand to help raise even more awareness.

The event has caused some students ask what can be done to deal with sexual assaults and rapes.

Jason Gillman, director of the Wellness Center, said the center provides services to help individuals prevent situations and also help assault victims.

Gillman said the best way to prevent assaults is by raising awareness of what sexual assaults are and helping individuals in trouble. He said the services are offered to men and women.

Victims of sexual assault may receive counseling through Relationship Violence & Sexual Assault Programs (453-4441), the Counseling Center (453-5371), the Wellness Center (536-4441), or the Women’s Center (529-2324). The Rape Crisis Center of the Women’s Center provides 24-hour crisis assistance as well as longer-term counseling for survivors of sexual assault and their significant others.

 

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