Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Ohio University is committed to creating an environment free from the threat of sexual assault, while actively responding to the needs of those affected by sexual assault.

In keeping with this commitment, Ohio University provides educational workshops, prevention programs and advocacy to victims of sexual assault and violence.

The term “sexual assault” means forcing a person into sexual activity against his or her will. One in six women and one in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. College-age women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted. More than half (60%) of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, and nearly three-quarters of rape victims know their assailants.

The Women’s Center is an excellent resource for those seeking counsel, support and additional information. The Women’s Center is located in 493 Baker University Center; hours are 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m.–5 p.m. on Friday.

The center’s website describes types of sexual assault and defines terms such as unwanted sexual contact (touching another person’s erogenous zones without their consent with the intent of sexual arousal) and sexual conduct (vaginal, oral and/or anal penetration with either a body part or object).

It also offers ways that everyone can help to prevent sexual assault:

  • Do not tolerate or participate in “jokes” about sexual assault.
  • Understand your own sexual boundaries and respect the sexual boundaries of other people.
  • Communicate! Always ask before engaging in sexual activity. Alcohol and drug consumption hinder the ability to consent to sexual activity.
  • Be an active ally. Challenge behaviors and attitudes that promote sexual violence.
  • Don’t blame the victim. Remember that sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault.

The Ohio University Police Department offers Rape Aggression Defense training to all Ohio University women. This program is a comprehensive course including awareness, prevention, risk reduction, avoidance and basic defense training. For more information, contact OUPD at (740) 593-1911.

What to do if you are assaulted

  • Call the Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program at (740) 597-SAFE.
  • Seek medical treatment immediately. Nurses trained in sexual assault response are available at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital. Follow-up care can be obtained through Campus Care on campus. 
  • Report the crime to the Ohio University Police Department or the Athens Police Department.

The Ohio University Women’s Center sponsors a Survivor Advocacy Program to help survivors deal with the impact of sexual assault, stalking, dating and domestic violence through confidential advocacy, education and resources. The program office is in McKee House, 44 University Terrace. Walk-ins are welcome anytime 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or call (740) 597-7233 after 5 p.m. or on weekends. 

Click here to learn more about the Survivor Advocacy Program.