UA-76843172-1

Protect yourself from sexual violence: R.A.D

     Sexual assault is no laughing matter. It is the most troubling of all campus crimes because the majority of victims do not report the incident. The humiliation and the inability to face their assailant again leaves victims unable to report their case. If only a few hundred cases are reported, then there may be thousands of other cases left unreported.

     The campus officials are dedicated to the safety and awareness of their new students when they arrive at a new environment and begin a new lifestyle. Each group of incoming freshmen are taught about sexual assault, and unlike the country’s safety level zone, it is not a chart of each incident. “It is a period to educate new students from the start of the fall semester until the fall break begins” Jayme L. Trogus, the coordinator of the Elsie S. Shenk Wellness and Women’s Program, said.

     During the Red Zone period, educators on sexual assault offer helpful advice and possible scenarios. Everyone on campus, not only freshmen, should be educated on these crimes. It is important to know the risks of sexual assault, whether it is vulnerability from a different social setting or the environment. Everyone should know the campus has 29 emergency “Blue Light” phones.

     The services range from reporting any type of incident, a wanted person arriving on campus, or simply requesting an escort back a residence hall.

     Remember to stay responsible when attending parties and other events. Stay in larger groups with friends to avoid being targeted easily by predators, which also applies when walking around campus at night. Know your limits when drinking. Alcohol is the number one factor for victimization. When you are intoxicated, your judgment is clouded and you are more vulnerable.

     Wherever you are, remain aware of not just the location, but also the resources, people, and friends that may be nearby. But a trusted friend can even be the person who ends up attacking you. “Most people who are sexually assaulted know their attacker, whether it is their spouse, friend, or a date,” Trogus said.

     How would you react if attacked?

     Thanks to the Millersville University Police Department and the Wellness and Women’s Program, there is a Rape Aggression Defense [R.A.D.] program. It is a free 12-hour program of realistic self-defense tactics and techniques for women. It is a comprehensive, women-only course that teaches awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance, and covers the basics of hands-on defense training. R.A.D is not a martial arts program and is taught by nationally certified instructors who provide each student with a reference manual that outlines the entire program.

     Upcoming R.A.D. classes are Mondays starting Feb. 8, and run until to March 1 in Lenhardt Hall Recreation Room from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. To register or for more information, contact the Wellness and Women’s Center at 717-872-3841 or e-mail at womenscenter@millersville.edu.

     “Our message is that sexual assault is not the victim’s fault,” Trogus said.

     If you are a victim of rape, then you should seek help immediately. If not from the campus police, there is always the Wellness and Women’s Program building located across the street from the Student Memorial Center. “We provide options to the victim, but it is up to them,” Trogus said. They are also encouraging people to report attacks because the more they are reported, the less likely their assailants are to commit another crime.

     Although it is up to the victim to pursue their assailant legally, it is mandatory for the victim to give relevant information, such as location, time, and a description of the attacker, through the Clery Act. It is named after 19-year-old Jeanne Clery who was raped and murdered in her Lehigh University residence hall in 1986.

     Clery’s parents lobbied Congress to enact the original Campus Security Act when they discovered students at Lehigh had not been notified about 38 violent crimes that had occurred on campus in the three years prior to Clery’s murder. Congress formally named the law in memory of Clery in 1998. Thanks to this act, the information disclosed by the victim is given to the campus police and posted around campus in the form of timely warnings, to alert other students of the assailant.

     If the victim does decide to take legal action, they have a few options. Initially, it is vital that the victim does not dispose of their clothing or shower after an assault, for it will get rid of the evidence. Lancaster General Hospital is the closest facility that provides the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination and they can be reached at 717-544-5511. On campus Health Services, which can be reached at 717-872-3250, does not provide the examination, but can provide a check-up that includes testing for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.

     For guidance, contact Wellness and Women’s Program, or the YWCA Sexual Assault and Prevention Counseling Center at 717-392-7273. Or the Judicial Affairs Office at 717-872-3162 to pursue University disciplinary action.