Each year, students return excited for what lies in store for them, whether it is strong academics, an exciting year of athletics, joining a fraternity or sorority, or just seeing friends and making new ones.
While a lot of excitement fills the campuses, there is a smaller group that might feel apprehension. This group tends to go unnoticed and in some cases is ignored. These are the victims of sexual assault on college campuses.
For many years, sexual assault was kept at a quiet level regarding discussion and response. In many cases, reports would be swept under the rug or labeled as minor misdemeanors, leading to fewer and fewer assaults even bothering to be reported. In 2015, it was reported by RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) that roughly 23% of undergraduate female students and 5% of undergraduate male students experience rape or sexual assault at least once during their time at college.
During the last few years, more people have begun to take note of the ineffectiveness of college campuses at preventing or even addressing sexual assault. In recent time, news stories have begun to address how the justice system and universities neglect to take sexual assault seriously and even, in some cases, blame the victim for what occurred. Millersville University is among many schools across the nation that is taking steps to address and hopefully prevent sexual assault.
The Red Zone is an initiative that Millersville University implements from the first day of classes until fall break each year, raising awareness and providing educational prevention in regards to sexual assault. During this six week time, various groups across campus provide students opportunities to learn how they can recognize and prevent situations that statistically lead to sexual assault.
The Center for Health Education and Promotion on campus sponsors many sessions showcasing documentaries educating students on recognition and prevention, what resources are available around campus and in the community, and allowing for discussions with university administration and safety.
On September 22nd, the Center for Health Education and Promotion showed The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assault and rape on college campuses, featuring the victim’s stories of their struggle with their institution’s attempts to cover up the incident, and the affect it had on them.
This was followed by a panel discussion with MUPD Chief Pete Anders, YWCA counselor Danielle Harvey and a peer health educator from CHEP. This is just one of many programs scheduled to raise awareness of sexual assault on campuses. Visit www.millersville.edu/sexualviolence to learn more about what Millersville University resources are available.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault or rape on or off campus, provided below are numbers for various resources in the area.
717-871-7821 Millersville University Counseling Center
717-871-5250 Millersville University Health Services
717-871-4357 Millersville University Police Department
717-871-4100 Millersville University Title IX Coordinator
717- 393-1735 Sexual Assault Prevention & Counseling Service
717-372-7273 Sexual Assault Victims Hotline (YWCA is in the Montour House Mondays from 3-7pm. Call 717-871-4141 to schedule an appointment.