For many female college students, walking home late at night can be a deeply harrowing experience. Students are often advised to stay in groups or to carry items of self-defense such as tasers or pepper spray in order to avoid sexual assault. Throughout the Triad, many colleges are implementing programs that address sexual assault prevention, as well as spreading further awareness.
This year, a concentrated effort has been put forth to raise awareness of sexual assault at University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) . The university has turned to a two-part online course which addresses sexual assault, sleep habits and even mental health. The sections with information detailing sexual assault, prevention, helpful resources and clear definitions of what sexual assault can be, are mandatory for both incoming undergraduate and graduate students.
The course is named Student Well Being: It Matters and was distributed on July 15, with the failure of completion resulting in a hold on students’ accounts.
“It definitely took some time to complete, but I’m glad that UNCG is helping students realize how important sexual assault awareness and prevention are,” said Amber Evans, a UNCG freshman majoring in nursing.
Take Back the Night, an event held annually on the Jackson Library lawn is scheduled for Aug. 27, 2019. As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Week, the event entails a march against sexual violence, as well as an invitation for survivors of sexual assault to speak openly about their own experiences.
The Clothesline project is also part of Sexual Assault Awareness Week. With materials provided by the library, students are encouraged to add to a week-long exhibit portraying the stories of students affected by sexual violence through t-shirts. These t-shirts weave a cohesive narrative detailing how deeply engrained the impacts of sexual violence can be on survivors and what further actions could be taken.
Other colleges within Greensboro are also creating and improving additional programs addressing sexual assault. After a case involving a student being raped at an off-campus apartment was reported last February, NC A&T created a committee dedicated to planning measures to safely report and prevent sexual assault. This committee was created based upon student suggestions after students, faculty and staff were encouraged to attend an open forum in March.
As a result, beginning in spring 2019 at NC A&T University, employees are required to complete Title IX training that teaches employees how to respond to reports and enforce accountability. According to statements made by University administrators, on-campus police officers will also be receiving additional training this fall.
These programs at both UNC Greensboro and NC A&T will lay the groundwork for an increase in sexual assault reports, as well as an increased understanding of how sexual assault occurs and what can be done to improve prevention.
While sexual assault is a lingering fear in many college students’ minds at UNCG, these resources will allow for students to feel safer and for any sexual misconduct to be reported correctly, and according to protocol.
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