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Education is key goal for sexual assault awareness

Sept. 17, 2004

By Cassie Lynott

With school back in session, Ohio University's Health Education and Wellness Department is back in action, teaming up with its student branch Promoting Ohio Wellness, Education and Responsibility (POWER), to sponsor Sexual Assault Awareness Week, Monday, Sept. 20, through Friday, Sept. 24.

Sexual Assault Awareness Week activities:

Monday, Sept. 20
Information Tables and Visual
Howard Hall Site

Tuesday, Sept. 21
To Prevent CSI, Have CSO (Consensual Sex Only) POWER
Ping Center Meeting Room B & C
7 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 22
Let's Talk About "IT" (Sexual Assault)
Kelly Walker & Rebecca Tieder
Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Alumni Auditorium (TBAMA)
7 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 23
The First United Against Sexual Assault March
West Portico of TBAMA
6:30 p.m.

Survivorship & Healing Session
For survivors and friends of survivors
Open to everyone
Baker Center 334
8 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 24
After Hours
Baker Center
12 a.m. - 3 a.m.
The week's theme, "Do You 'Really' Know What's Happenin' Between the Sheets?" focuses on increasing awareness for students and community members on issues surrounding sexual assault; striving to make Ohio University a consensual-sex-only zone while expanding on students' involvement in critical health issues such as sexual assault.

"Sexual assault is an issue for all," says Sue Ellen Hughes, assistant director of Health Education and Wellness. "Both men and women can be sexually assaulted, and both men and women need to take a stand against it."

Throughout the week, the Health Education and Wellness Department has arranged activities to expand sexual assault awareness within the campus community. Events for the week include the First United Against Sexual Assault Awareness March, sexual assault speakers Kelly Walker and Rebecca Tieder ("Let's Talk About 'IT'"), a consensual sex program put on by POWER and healing sessions.

In Ohio, sexual assault umbrellas a wide range of offenses such as unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, unwanted touching, taking advantage of an individual under the influence of alcohol and rape.

"Sexual assault is more than just rape," says Alyssa Jakmas, a senior health administration major and a POWER member.

Historically, studies have revealed only about 10 percent of the population report a sexual assault and a recent study has shown victims are more willing to report sexual assault, Hughes says.

"We only know what people are reporting," Hughes says. "By increasing awareness and by finding out what people's attitudes and perceptions are about sexual assault we can help address the problem."

Char Kopchick, director of Health Education and Wellness, attributes much of campus sexual assault to the "large numbers of young adults who are dealing with new life experiences like choosing to drink and engaging in sexual activity."

"If students choose to be sexually active, then there must be consent between them," Kopchick says.

Cassie Lynott is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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