46 years after its founding, Rape Victim Advocacy Program still going strong
In 1973, The University of Iowa started a program called The Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP), with the intention of fighting against the use of gender and sex as weapons of oppression. Since the 70’s, they’ve worked to bring awareness to this issue and stop sexual violence before it begins. RVAP also provides services to people directly and indirectly affected by sexual violence.
According to the website, sexual violence can be defined as “…any sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent. This includes but is not limited to rape, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, sexual exploitation, etc.”
Anyone can fall victim to this, not just a specific race or gender. It’s important to know this information because both women and men are likely victims of assault/harassment during their college years. According to a Campus Climate Survey Validation Study completed in 2016, during the first three months of college, people – especially underclassmen – are at a high risk of being victim to sexual violence. Most perpetrators use alcohol as a weapon against their victim, and in college there is an increase in alcohol consumption among first-years.
This is not meant to cause fear, but to bring awareness. Although only a perpetrator can prevent assault, being aware of one’s surroundings can be useful. Use the buddy system to keep friends safe, and be vigilant on those nights out. Prevention starts with a commitment from everyone to respect each other and not cause harm. There is no tolerance for this kind of activity.
Although RVAP is not based out of Dubuque, they are available for counseling and will work to provide anyone the help that they need. The Loras College counseling center is also a great resource.
All this information can be found on rvap.uiowa.edu.