Our Actions Matter: Ending Sexual Assault
By Margaret Chantung
The statistics are startling. College-age women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted compared to other age groups. Moreover, for every 1,000 women attending a college or university, there will be 35 incidents of rape in a given academic year.
Jeffrey Bucholtz, director of the national violence prevention organization We End Violence, says campus sexual assault is everyone’s problem. Speaking to residential CSUSM students at the start of fall semester on Sunday, August 31, his message was clear: your actions matter.
“We’re going to have an honest conversation about why this happens in the first place so that we can have hope for changing our environment and making our campus—your campus—a safer place,” he said.
Bucholtz, an activist and educator who has been speaking about sexual violence and related topics for over ten years, emphasized that we live in a culture where rape is perpetuated by popular culture and media.
“We have learned more about sex—especially good sex—from media than from anywhere else,” he said while showcasing examples of popular imagery consistent in reinforcing a rape-centric societal view of sex.
Bucholtz also brought attention to the mixed-messages that young men and women receive every day related to sexual activity, masculinity and femininity. Furthermore, he highlighted the need for open communication between sexual partners to acquire consent.
“If you have consent its sex, if you don’t its rape,” Bucholtz said emphatically.
Because national studies have shown that sexual assaults are underreported on college campuses and that students—particularly those in their first year—are most at risk, it’s important that CSUSM create an environment where survivors are empowered to come forward.
“This is a critically important conversation, particularly for housing students because they call CSUSM their home,” said Bridget Blanshan, associate vice president for student engagement and equity, and Title IX coordinator. “It’s vital that students know that they are supported at CSUSM as we start to talk openly about what contributes to rape culture. By doing this, we hope to not only reduce the number of incidents of sexual assault and violence on our campus but create a community where survivors are supported.”
Know Your Resources
Who should you contact if you or a friend needs help? Where should you go? People and departments across CSUSM work on education, prevention and intervention of sexual assault, stalking, dating and domestic violence.
CSUSM Title IX Coordinator Bridget Blanshan is the campus administrator responsible for assisting students with issues related to sexual assault, harassment and/or discrimination. Blanshan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (760) 750-4056.
The Dean of Students Office provides assistance to students with any University matter needing resolution, such as student grievances and/or student conduct. The office can provide information on options for reporting incidents of sexual assault, harassment or discrimination; immediate remedies available to protect the complainant; and formal or informal complaint reporting procedures. Contact the Dean of Students by calling 760-750-4935 or visit the office located in the University Student Union, room 3500 during operating hours, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Student Outreach and Referral (SOAR) is a centralized service for all members of the University community seeking to assist students in finding answers to questions, resolving concerns or identifying opportunities to maximize their success at CSUSM. SOAR provides individual attention to students and facilitates personalized referral to University resources. To contact SOAR, e-mail email@example.com or call 760-750-SOAR (7627) during operating hours, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The University Police Department has primary jurisdiction for the investigation and documentation of all sexual offenses occurring on University property. To report a sexual assault or other sex offense, victims are encouraged to immediately contact the University Police Department by dialing 911 or (760) 750-4567 in order to obtain immediate police assistance, emergency medical care and treatment along with valuable referral information.
Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) is available to confidentially assist sexual assault victims understand their medical and reporting options. Students may contact the University’s new Sexual Violence Advocate and Educator Christa Wencl, located in SHCS to confidentially discuss rights and options at CSUSM and with law enforcement. SHCS also provides counseling for survivors of abuse and medical services to students. Call 760-750-4915 or walk in to the Center during operating hours, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Off campus there are also a number of resources including: