Posts Tagged ‘sexual assault’
This past Tuesday, Virginia Representative Tom Perriello introduced the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE Act). This act will majorly revamp the Campus Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights and is a much needed update to federal policy. The Campus SaVE Act will be a step closer to more comprehensive guidelines for universities when responding to sexual violence.
The Campus SaVE Act will:
- Expands the list of offenses that must be covered in a campus sexual assault policy to include “sex offenses and other intimate partner violence, including stalking, dating violence, sexual violence, and domestic violence offenses.”
- Mandates primary prevention programming that includes defining consent and bystander intervention training (!!!) and awareness education that includes instructions for how to report offenses that occur on OR off campus
- States that victims will be provided with full explanations of their options for health, mental health, and legal resources both on and off campus, as well as their right to involve local police or campus security AND how they can obtain a restraining order/order of protection/no contact order.
- Requires that all disciplinary proceedings must be “conducted by officials trained to understand the issues of sex offenses and other intimate partner violence.”
While there are still a lot of steps that could be taken by the federal government and by individual universities, the Campus SaVE Act is an exciting piece of legislation that will be a step in the right direction. I’m particularly excited about the mandated bystander intervention. Bystander intervention training will definitely help stop sexual violence on college campuses, especially if students receive this training during their first semester of their freshman year.
I am particularly excited about this piece of legislation. During my internship at a sexual assault awareness center, I have been working a lot with the University’s sexual assault policy. Doing this work has definitely opened my eyes to the work that still needs to be done.
*Most of this information is taken from the SAFER Campus Blog.
Earlier this semester, the sexual assault organization that I am an intern at was holding volunteer training at the university that I attend. The volunteer was being held in the law school (it’s not a part of the law school, we were just holding it there for the space). While setting up, one of the other interns started talking to a law student who had come out of a classroom and inquired about what was going on. Then this law student asked, “isn’t rape more of an undergrad problem?”
He tried to explain this as undergrad go to parties and get too drunk, which then of course leads to sexual assault and of course this never happens in law school.
But no, sexual assault is not something that only happens in college and only to undergrads. It has nothing to do with how much someone drinks or if they go to parties. Sexual assault can happen to anyone. That’s not meant to scare you, but just to get you to think about what the rape myths are and why they are actually myths.
And the scary part was that this was a future lawyer who was saying this. These people are supposed to be defending the laws and seeking justice. How is anything going to change in our culture if the lawyers are the ones that that promote these rape myths.*
So when you hear people talking like this law student or promoting rape myths, stand up to them. Question their beliefs. Provide them with the real information.
*I’m not talking about all lawyers. Just talking generally about what needs to be done in society.
I know that I have been absent from the blogging world for a while now, but I feel like I have a good reason for it. I have started grad school and am pursuing my Master’s degree in Social Work. It has been a great semester with lots of trials and victories. As I am nearing the end of my first semester of grad school, I thought it was appropriate to reflect on my journey so far.
I know that I don’t do well with change, so moving to a new city and starting grad school that would launch me in my future career was scary for me. But once I got to know people here and start school, I easily fell into my new life here and came to embrace all of the opportunities that I have had available to me.
I started my internship at the sexual assault awareness center on at the university that I attend and fell in love with the work that I do there. I am focusing on macro social work, so most of my work at my internship so far has been dealing with policies and research. But I love this kind of stuff, so it was great for me. And all of the people that work there, professional staff, interns, and student volunteers, are great feminists and advocates and I really enjoy spending time there. I am even thinking of adding an interpersonal practice minor so that next semester I can interact with survivors directly.
My classes this semester have all been foundation courses, so they haven’t always been terribly exciting, but I do feel like I am learning a lot. And next semester I am starting to take more advanced classes.
So, some things that I have learned about myself this semester:
- I really want to work in the field of sexual assault and domestic violence. This is the type of work that really calls to me and through my coursework and my internship, I have realized that I could spend the rest of my life doing this kind of work – with lots of self-care, of course.
- I’m a football fan. I have never really been that into sports. But coming to a university that is known for its football (I’m not going to say where I’m attending, but some people might be able to guess), even if we aren’t doing that well this year, and going to games has made me invested in my team. I don’t know if I would watch football if it wasn’t a game that involved my team, so I guess I shouldn’t really say that I’m a football fan, but rather a fan of my team.
- Being around people with similar social justice mindsets again has really solidified my feminist beliefs. There are some instances where I’m surprised how sexist or racist or prejudice someone in social work can be, but overall, I have found people who share my views on the world and are as passionate about them as I am.
- I really can handle living on my own. This is the first time in my life that I have been on my own. During college, I lived in a dorm all four years and then I moved back home with my parents for a year before I started grad school. One of the big things that I was worried about what being able to handle this. I knew I could, but, as I said, I don’t like change. But I have been able to handle living in my own apartment with a roommate, paying the bills on time (which reminds me…), and navigating a new city by myself.
So, now that I am nearing the end of my first semester, I think that I have a better handle on the work and schedule that grad schools requires and I am going to try to start blogging again. I have really missed blogging and being a part of the online feminist community, so I am going to try re-entering while also giving adequate time to all of the other things going on in my life.
So hello again!