Loras strives to prevent sexual violence

After analyzing results from last year’s campus climate survey, Loras College decided to raise awareness about sexual assault and consent for students.

According to the survey, many students do not know the definition of consent. Loras’ consent policy, like many other universities, states that someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs is unable to give consent to sexual activity. To help educate the students, as well as spread the word, Dean of Students Art Sunleaf and Associate Dean of Students Kim Walsh implemented several forms of sexual assault education around campus.

During the past spring semester, almost 600 posters with detailed definitions and examples of consent were placed around campus, from residence halls to the Alumni Campus Center. Discussions regarding the subject took place in classrooms and with different teams and clubs.  Along with the initial discussion of consent and sexual assault, Loras students were introduced to Haven, an educational and interactive program that discusses sexual assault and how it can be prevented.  The program includes recent statistics, interactive modules, and real-life anonymous stories that have been shared to increase awareness.

In addition to this program, several students took part in a video campaign titled “It’s on Us, Duhawks” to encourage bystander intervention and looking out for other students. The video, giving a new meaning to the term ‘Duhawks supporting Duhawks,’  was posted to Loras’ Facebook page and received many shares within minutes of the posting.

“I thought the video raised a lot of good points about how we need to support each other. It’s not that there are large numbers of people doing these things, it’s a matter of people looking out for one another when these things happen,” sophomore Brody Hooker said.

By introducing these programs to college students, Loras is exceeding the Clery Act requirements mandated by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. Part of this act requires colleges to share statistics about sexual violence on campus. With the new requirements in effect, prevention programs and statistics are required for students, faculty and other college employees. Some of the topics discussed in the Haven course and around campus are dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and bystander intervention.

Students are expected to complete the second half of the Haven course by the end of November. However, many are already discussing the topic with each other.

“We need to prevent this from happening to our friends and classmates. We need to take what we’ve learned  and pass it along to one another,” said sophomore Brennan Pivnicka. “If we work together, we can prevent and educate not only ourselves, but work on educating future Duhawks.”

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