In August 2017, a new office was created on IU’s campus to focus on sexual violence prevention and response. The Office for Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Advocacy works on both sides of the issue by teaching students how to prevent sexual violence and connecting students to resources to help them overcome the physical and emotional impact of sexual violence experiences.
Confidential Victim Advocates are the response team and are specially trained to work with students who have experienced sexual assault, harassment, relationship violence, stalking, or other threats to their personal safety. CVA’s address academic and financial concerns, help students file a report, and can connect students to campus and community resources. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-856-2469.
Staff members who are part of the prevention team coordinate the Step UP! IU and It’s On Us: Alcohol and Consent bystander intervention workshops, and advise the student initiative Culture of Care, which focuses on empowering students to help when they encounter problematic situations. The prevention team also manages, in collaboration with the Office of Student Welfare & Title IX, an online sexual violence prevention and response training module for graduate students that accounts for their unique role as both students and staff.
Step UP! IU workshops teach students how to help in situations such as substance misuse, mental health, sexual assault, discrimination and harassment, and hazing. It’s On Us: Alcohol and Consent workshops focus on the intersection of substance use and sexual violence, and how students can step in when they notice those situations.
During the 2017-2018 school year, It’s On Us: Alcohol and Consent was launched as a required workshop for first-year undergraduate students to attend during the fall or spring semester. The workshops are facilitated by trained peer educators and take place in residence hall classrooms and academic buildings.
More information about both workshops, including how to request them, can be found at https://studentaffairs.indiana.edu/violence-prevention/programs-initiatives/index.shtml.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and students across campus are joining together to raise awareness of this important issue. In collaboration with the Division of Student Affairs, IU departments and student organizations will be hosting events all month to embrace student voices and discuss how to keep the IU community safe.
- The Division of Student Affairs will be participating in the #30DaysofSAAM national social media campaign, with daily posts on Instagram and Twitter. You can follow the campaign @iustudentlife.
- Culture of Care is kicking off SAAM with a week-long celebration (April 9-April 13) of what it means to create a culture of care on IU’s campus. You can learn more about Culture of Care Week by following them on social media @cultureofcareiu.
- As part of Culture of Care Week, the Sexual Well-Being committee will host a #metoo summit on April 12 with student leaders on campus to discuss current campus sexual violence prevention efforts and ideas for enhancing them.
- The IU Health Center’s Sexual Assault Crisis Service will sponsor The Clothesline Project April 11-13 with a display on the front lawn of the Health Center each day from 10 am-3 pm.
- On April 17, the Office for Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Advocacy, Peer Health and Wellness Educators, OASIS, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and Omega Phi Beta will table around campus to raise awareness about sexual violence and provide tips for safety during Little 500 weekend.
Creating a culture of care requires a daily commitment from all students, faculty, and staff to stop sexual violence. Here are some ways that everyone in the IU community can keep each other safe:
- Remember that persistent and unwelcome contact; sexual activity without consent; yelling; and physical, verbal, emotional, and psychological violence are signs of an unhealthy relationship.
- To help a friend, safely distract them or remove them from a problematic situation. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask a friend for assistance or contact campus resources.
- When you hear sexual harassment or victim-blaming comments, respectfully and safely challenge the inappropriate language.
- To help a survivor of violence, listen actively and ask how you can help. Offer to accompany the survivor to seek resources and respect the survivor’s decisions.
Your voice might be the one that stops a potential assault or provides critical healing and support. There is no better time than SAAM to embrace it!
About Sexual Assault Awareness Month
In 2001, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center designated April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Each year, a new theme is selected to help focus attention on a different aspect of prevention. This year’s theme is “Embrace Your Voice.”
The 2018 SAAM theme encourages everyone to take part in efforts to prevent sexual violence by using their voices to stop harmful behaviors and support survivors. It is congruent with the national #ItsOnUs campaign and Indiana University’s Culture of Care initiative, which charges every student to take personal responsibility for the safety of their peers.
For More Information
To take the #ItsOnUs pledge, visit www.itsonus.org/pledge.
More information about IU’s sexual misconduct policy, resources, and programs is available at http://stopsexualviolence.iu.edu