WU assault stats show need for mandatory prevention training

Last Monday, Student Life published an article detailing the results from the Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. We at Student Life feel that the numbers were both alarming and unacceptable and call for a larger, unified initiative on campus to decrease instances of sexual assault and violence.

The survey showed that one-third of women at the University experience nonconsensual sexual contact and that over half of transgender, genderqueer or nonconforming and questioning (TGQN) students experience nonconsensual sexual contact during their college careers. Moreover, over half of female undergraduates did not believe that officials would hold a fair investigation into an incident.

These numbers speak to the lack of education and understanding about both sexual assault on campus and prevention and investigation of nonconsensual acts.

Though efforts like The Date and online programs for freshmen start a discussion on campus about sexual assault, we believe that it is time for the University to start to shift these mandatory sexual assault programs away from merely talking about the issues and toward actively learning how to prevent them.

A major discrepancy in the sexual assault education programs at Wash. U. lies in the fact that people who attend the voluntary training programs are only a small portion of the University population. Students who would perpetuate a culture of sexual assault or bystander silence would most likely not attend these programs, leaving a gap in the trainings’ relevance.

We recommend that the administration implement mandatory Green Dot training—a national effort to educate students about preventing sexual violence and assault—during new student orientation and make a united effort to publicize other prevention education and training events.

Though Green Dot has been increasing its publicity across Washington University’s campus, many students are still unaware of its opportunities or are unable to commit to the six-hour program. The University administration, through class-wide emails or unification of the targeted sexual assault prevention programs on campus, has the ability to make prevention training relevant and accessible to each student.

However, while effective and necessary, prevention education programs will not cease the problems surrounding sexual assault on campus. Considering the large percentage of students—especially females—who did not trust the report system at Wash. U., the administration needs to clarify its system of report investigation and keep in communication with victims about the best way to maintain integrity and trust throughout the process.

The increased programming of Green Dot, the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center, Leaders in Interpersonal Violence Education and others are a good step toward making the campus safer, but unless the University creates more universal mandatory education and training programs, the problems that the survey highlighted will continue to haunt our campus.

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