College students arent aware of the resources offered to help them report a sexual assault or of the possibilities of being victimized, according to a sexual assault educational conference.
The Penn State Justice Center for Research, College of Liberal Arts and Penn State Outreach collaborated Tuesday to host the Penn State Campus Sexual Assault Education Conference.
The conference provided a keynote speaker and ten different workshops, offering information on rape culture and how to speak up about sexual assaults to more than 100 registrants.
I am a passionate advocate for victims of sexual assault, and specifically interested in educating college students on the topic of sexual violence, said Courtney Meyer, a research assistant at the Justice Center for Research.
Meyer is currently the chairwoman of the personal safety and sexual assault awareness committee. Her interest in educating students about sexual violence and teaching the difference between consensual and nonconsensual sex motivated her to organize the event, she said.
I want students to understand that campus sexual violence happens to both males and females of all sexual identities and races across universities nationwide, and to be empowered to utilize the knowledge and skills they will gain from the conference, Meyer said.
Kat De Crescenzo, a senior from Penn State Berks, spent her entire day going back and forth from the HUB Auditorium to Heritage Hall attending six different workshops.
Out of all six, De Crescenzo got the most out of the Sexual Assault Across Cultures workshop, because it opened her mind to view women in ethnic groups in terms of rape rather than in a general perspective, she said.
Audra Hixson, assistant director of the Center for Women Studies, led a workshop on Methods to Preventing Sexual Assault. A film titled Welcome to the Party was shown followed by a conversation about ways the sexual violence incidents could have been prevented, she said.
Hixson mentions that the main take-home messages are to challenge the attitudes that make rape acceptable and to examine your own sexual behavior and responsibility.
Before having sex, take inventory. Ask yourself, How will I feel if my partner later tells me that he/she did not want to have intercourse? If you have any doubts about what your partner wants, stop, ask and clarify, said Hixson.
Meanwhile, victims who werent aware of how to prevent sexual violence from occurring dealt with the decision of reporting it to the police or keeping silent at the HUB Robeson Center.
I was just surprised that 85 percent of people just dont report what happens to them. I think its such a high percentage, said De Crescenzo.
A total of 12 sexual assaults have been reported since an alleged August 23 incident, according to The Daily Collegian. However, not at all cases are reported or investigated, which is something Penn State Detective Spencer Peters wants to change.
We want to be able to link cases together, said the Penn State police officer.
If people dont come to report those to us, those dont get tied together.
Penn State police and the Center for Women Studies offer a self-defense program called RAD, or Rape Aggression Defense, which is composed of four three-hour sessions for female students each semester to teach self-defense techniques.
We teach strikes, different chokeholds, and then the last night we actually do a simulation where the instructors would get into a padded suit and the students can actually practice what they learned on the instructor, Peters said.
Amy Ross is a Penn State journalism student.