Sexual assault prevention is a major topic on every college campus. At the University of Connecticut, students are introduced to this issue at orientation. It is important to continue to raise awareness about these topics in order to ensure the continuity of understanding for the issue of on-campus harassment.
While it may seem obvious to students that violent behavior is not tolerated anywhere, especially college campuses, the goal of the presentations and orientations given by campus staff are not solely meant to tell students that harassment is wrong. Rather they also explain what exactly violent and threatening behavior consists of and how it is typically expressed so students can more easily recognize it on campus. Students that assume they already know not to harass others and respect consent may not even notice when they are behaving in a threatening manner, since they do not recognize its symptoms. Many students go through the Not Anymore program very briefly to remove the hold it places on Student Administration accounts. This creates a somewhat passive regard of this program and hinders the takeaways of its lessons.
Since April is National Sexual Awareness Month (SAAM), organizations on campus are planning events to advocate against sexual assault as a collective effort to make campus safe for all students. For example, the UConn Women’s Center is holding an event called “Take Back the Night” today, 4/11, to “raise awareness about gender-based violence affecting members of our community, and to provide support for survivor empowerment and healing” (this is from an email sent by the women’s center to members). This event is a remarkable way to reach out to all students and appeal to them in a significant way. Whether they are victims or just students that want to become more informed about assault, it is important to bring the student body together on a subject that affects so many.
The UConn Women’s Center is fighting sexual assault by promoting unity in the UConn community. By approaching this huge issue in a bipartisan manner rather than raising political and social tension, the organization is providing an outlet for all students who wish to talk about their experience with sexual harassment and assault, without alienating certain members of the student body. By doing this, the Women’s Center is approaching a difficult topic in the most effective way possible and opening the lines of communication for students who may need support the most.