Students who may be worried about attempted sexual assault Oct. 14 must be reminded of the services and resources available on campus so that they may gain education and prevention techniques regarding the prevention of sexual assaults.
“Many departments on campus such as the Student Counseling Center, Student Health Service, Women’s Resource Center and PIER 21 are tremendous assets to students,” said Janet Tiberian, assistant director for student wellness.
“I think that the University has a lot of resources for students,” sophomore Rebecca Smith said. “I think that more students should take advantage of them.”
“I took a self-defense course with my mom before I came down here,” Smith said. “We bonded and learned so much information. It helped her feel better about me being away.”
The Wellness Center offers two different self-defense programs throughout the semester, SAFE and RAD (Rape Aggression Defense).
Both programs aim to instruct participants to trust their instincts, be prepared and practice simple strategies in their everyday life and to provide instruction about risk awareness and avoidance strategies as well as practical self-defense tactics.
“We work with the Department of Public Safety to offer a comprehensive self-defense class called RAD (Rape Aggression Defense),” Tiberian said. “We also are very involved with the SART Education Team; therefore, we disseminate information on rape, dating violence and stalking,” Tiberian said.
“I’m going to talk to some of my friends about taking one of the self defense courses,” said junior Maria Vasquez. “I think it will be a lot of fun and beneficial at the same time.”
“I’ve heard that the RAD course is really fun,” said Kate Robinson, senior. “You get to beat up someone in those big suits. It’s really cool!”
“I want my girlfriend to learn about some of the safety tips,” said Adam Kennedy, sophomore. “I always worry about her going to the gym and the grocery store at night.”
Additionally, the Counseling Center has a 24-hour telephone response line for students called the Sexual Assault Response Team, or SART. SART volunteers include UM advocates, trained faculty, graduate students and staff. They can answer questions and provide support anonymously.
“The best advice I can think of for victims of sexual assault, sexual battery and molestation is calling the SART line,” Tiberian said.
According to Tiberian, SART advocates are specially trained to verify that the victim is safe.
Advocates also provide referrals to important services for victims such as the Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, the Student Counseling Center and Student Health Services.
“Advocates impart basic post-rape education, such as testing for sexually transmitted infections, emergency contraception and preserving certain types of evidence,” Tiberian said.
According to organizers, SART has an education and prevention program in which volunteers speak to groups regarding rape facts, statistics, prevention and sexual communication free of charge.
The Women’s Resource Center also provides resources to students.
“This department provides a wealth of information on rape as well as other forms of violence against women,” Tiberian said.
Another organization on campus is PIER 21.
“PIER 21, the center for alcohol and other drug education, is constantly teaching students to control substances, as the majority of acquaintance or date rapes involve substance use,” Tiberian said. “Further, it is difficult to fend off an attack from a stranger if you are under the influence.”
Victims of sexual assault need to contact the local authorities immediately after the attack.
The Rape Treatment Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital also provides medical services to adult victims, regardless of police involvement.
The Rape Treatment center can give an exam to obtain evidence in the event that victims change their mind and choose to report the crime.
SAFE programs are scheduled to take place Oct. 22 and Nov. 5 from 5 -7:30 p.m. They are free to students.
RAD course is scheduled to be offered Dec. 10, 12, 17 and 19 from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Wellness Center. The cost is $25 for students.