Monday, May 27

Rape Awareness Week invites campus to fight crime


Rape Awareness Week invites campus to fight crime

Events planned to educate students and encourage action

By Lena Hicks

Daily Bruin Contributor

Despite years of "No means No" campaigning, the issue of rape
still carries a weighty stigma in the minds of many rape victims.
Shame often goes hand in hand with the feelings of anger, violation
and fear that victims experience, leading only one victim in 10 to
report the crime, according to FBI statistics.

The stigma and misconceptions attached to rape are what
organizers of Rape Awareness Week are aiming to reverse through an
educational crusade this week.

Raising campus awareness of rape is important because it is an
issue college students tend to avoid, said Kathy Rose-Mockry,
director of the Women’s Resource Center.

"Often times, students don’t want to have the discomfort of
knowing that rape occurs to people they know and care about,"
Rose-Mockry said.

Rape Awareness Week’s organizers are taking a broad-based
approach to the week’s activities, holding various workshops,
seminars and exhibits with the goal of reaching as many members of
the campus community as possible.

Organizers hope to reduce the incidence of sexual assault by
providing students with information resources.

"Until we live in a rape-free society," Rose-Mockry stated,
"it’s important that we provide options for protection."

Rape and sexual assault are often the result of violent
relationships, said Mary Margaret Smith, assistant to the chair of
the women’s studies program. To address this problem, the women’s
studies program is sponsoring a seminar entitled "International
Dimensions of Domestic Violence" as part of the events scheduled
during Rape Awareness Week.

The Women’s Resource Center has been involved in public outreach
for decades. Since the 1970s, the center has coordinated events
designed to confront issues – such as rape – that are often
overlooked. During the 1980s, the Student Welfare Commission joined
the Women’s Resource Center in co-sponsoring these programs. Other
campus groups have gradually come to sponsor Rape Awareness
Week.

"By raising awareness, people can help promote change in
general," said Diane Bishetti Suggs, assistant director of the
Women’s Resource Center.

In addition, the Women’s Resource Center is equipped to help
male assault victims who decide to seek assistance. Like women,
most male victims do not report assaults.

Speaking to someone trusted is the best step that victims can
take, according to Rose-Mockry. "The important thing is not
remaining silent," she explained.

Rose-Mockry stressed that the campaign to raise awareness of
rape and sexual assault is year-round. The Women’s Resource Center
provides educational outreach to orientation participants,
fraternities and sororities, and various student groups. Self
defense workshops are also offered quarterly.Comments to
[email protected]

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.