A rape-prevention tip list has sparked controversy because of several suggestions readers found offensive.
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs posted 10 “last-resort” tips to prevent a sexual assault, which included vomiting or urinating on rapists. While the list was removed Feb. 19 and replaced with an apology, it left an impact about sexual assault safety on other campuses, including SIU.
Tom Hutton, a UCCS spokesman, told KRDO news officials the list was taken out of context, and it was meant as supplemental information for women who completed a self-defense class. Hutton said the list was created in 2006 but could have resurfaced because campus rape is a reoccurring issue.
While UCCS retracted their suggestions, SIU faculty and public safety officials gave their own rape prevention suggestions and highlighted university services.
Megan Jones-Williams, the Women’s Center’s rape crisis services program coordinator, said the center and university work with multiple groups and prevention programs including the Progressive Masculinities Mentors, a group that promotes equal gender rights and prevention education from pre-school to college-level students.
“We focus our energy and our outreach on trying to educate people to not assault or rape other people,” she said. “We always want to put the focus on the perpetrators themselves as the ones responsible, not hold victims responsible for what they did or didn’t do in that situation.”
Williams said the Woman’s Center would not recommend anything like the University of Colorado’s list because it focuses more on prevention education.
“We would never encourage or say that someone can prevent being assaulted by doing a certain action, but that’s not to say that we don’t encourage people to be safe,” she said. “If a woman wants to take a certain precaution for themself, then we would certainly encourage that.”
Russell Thomas, all-hazards preparedness resource coordinator for the Department of Public Safety, said the university offers programs such as a self-defense class to prevent sexual assault and rape.
“We have the Rape Aggressive Defense, it’s called R.A.D., which we usually offer twice a year, and it’s usually in the fall,” he said. “It’s basically a class for females only to learn tactics to protect themselves from an attacker.”
Thomas said DPS also talks to residence halls about pre-planning and mental readiness to prepare female students for the possibility of an attacker. He said some rape-prevention suggestions include walking with a buddy, avoiding dark areas and having a plan prepared that is practiced periodically.
While sexual assault and rape are national concerns, several students said they still feel safe on campus.
Della’Jae Fryer, a freshman from Chicago studying psychology, said she thought the University of Colorado’s tips were disgusting and offensive.
She said she feels safe on campus but thinks there should be more methods to prepare and protect students.
“(The university) could actually let it be know that (rape) happens,” she said. “There’s a lot of sexual tension in the dorms, and some girls do feel threatened so (there could be) more security in the towers.”
Jessica Hoagland, a sophomore from Gratton, Conn., studying radio-television, said she also feels safe and thinks DPS offers adequate rape prevention programs.
“I see all the time self-defense classes they put on for free and I feel like they have a lot of awareness,” she said. “I think they do put a very good effort into it.”