By Brianna Hernandez
One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, but only 20 percent of all sexual misconduct is reported to law enforcement or victim services agencies, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and as the month draws to a close, it’s important to recognize the resources available to students who are victims of sexual harassment and assault.
It is also crucial to highlight what can be done to prevent it from happening on college campuses.
It’s never easy to deal with the aftermath of an assault”on- or off-campus.
Fortunately, there are several resources available to students who have experienced such trauma or know someone who has.
As a generation made up of tech-savvy individuals, one way to find support in the wake of a crisis is through the mobile app Reach Out Editions, which aims to provide college students with the resources they need when it’s most crucial.
“We wanted to make an app that could compile all the contact information needed for victims and survivors in an easy-to-read and understandable way”and was also easily navigated. The point is to remove the amount of inconveniences that they would have to deal with,” said Jack Zandi, one of the creators of the Reach Out Editions app.
Once the app is downloaded, users choose their university from a menu and are then directed to a home page fit for their school.
From there, users find support contact information for both campus and city-wide resources based on their location.
Zandi said the point of the app is to help relieve some of the stress that a victim may experience following an assault or incident.
Often, victims of sexual assault do not know where to turn to for help, resulting in an untreated or unreported case”increasing the chances that the offender will strike again.
“It’s the little things and inconveniences that build up and stop someone from reporting an incident,” said Zandi. “If we can fix that by use of the Reach Out app, and prevent further assaults from happening by giving victims the information they need right away, then we feel that we’re helping a noble cause.”
Though technology can lead to many doors, at Cal Poly Pomona, there are a handful of places one can go to get immediate help following an assault.
Students are also encouraged to utilize available resources and services through partnerships with Project Sister and the University Police Department when not on campus.
Survivor Advocacy Services works alongside Student Counseling Services to provide free, supportive and confidential consultation and counseling to victims following a recent or past incident.
SAS also aims to raise awareness of sexual harassment, abuse, stalking and violence through therapy and prevention education.
“Our vision at Survivor Advocacy Services is to have a violence-free campus in regards to sexual assault, stalking, dating and abuse,” said Naomi Chu, program coordinator at SAS.
“It stems from an understanding that these issues come from bigger things,” added Chu. “We want to be able to equip students, faculty and staff with toolsets that can prevent these things from happening”or know how to respond to it when it does.”
According to Chu, an important part of being a survivor advocate in order to raise awareness is educating students about sexual moisconduct on campus and how to recognize early signs of abuse, as well as knowing how to get help.
This effort to increase awareness and prevention of sexual misconduct has been recently implemented by mandatory Title IX training at the beginning of each year for all California State University students.
Though required, Title IX training may be just a small step towards a safer campus community.
It’s a step worth taking to ensure the well-being and safety of students.
Chu said, “It’s so important for anyone who’s a survivor of sexual assault or trauma to know that people really do care about their safety and wellness on this campus.”
Courtesy of Capptivation
Users can select Cal Poly Pomona for campus-specific information.
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