April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and CSU Bakersfield is in full recognition of it.
CSUB’s website provides the school’s legal definition of what sexual assault is: “Any sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced or forced to comply against her/his will. At its most basic level, sexual assault therefore refers to any form of nonconsensual sexual activity. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to, rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation, rape by a foreign object, sexual battery, or threat of sexual assault.”
Sexual assault is an issue that is not new, however it has not been talked about for a long time,” says Olivia Warren, the campus advocate for CSUB.
According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, someone is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds.This means that there are over 430,000 victims of sexual assault each year.
To acknowledge this humanitarian issue, CSUB has observed the month with campus-wide events for all students, faculty, and staff to participate in. These events were organized by Warren with the help of CSUB’s Division of Equity, Inclusion, and Compliance, the Wellness Committee, and the Student Recreation Center.
Past events included a social media giveaway and a virtual showing of the documentary “Athlete A,” which focuses on how reporters exposed Dr. Larry Nassar for sexually abusing the girls of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team.
Today, April 28, is Denim Day and students are encouraged to wear denim to support survivors of sexual assault.
Also today, there will be a Wellness Chat from noon to 1 p.m. This talk entitled “Teal Talk,” since teal is the color used to represent sexual assault, will address topics including consent and healthy relationships.
CSUB student Alissa Montejo said, “Talking about sexual assault should be normalized because then other people can come out about their stories. Also, if people normalize talking about it then they will also normalize teaching younger individuals about it.”
According to CSUB’s website, the university is mandated by Title IX to protect students, staff, and faculty “against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and gender based dating and domestic violence and stalking.”
Additionally, under the Jeanne Clery Act, CSUB is required to report crime statistics of the school, including those having to do with sexual assault. The annual reports can be found on CSUB’s website.
There are on-campus options for the CSUB community to report sexual assault and/or receive support for instances involving sexual assault. Reporting options include the University Police Department and the Title IX Coordinator, Marcus Brown. Support options include the Campus Advocate, Counseling Center, and Student Health Services.
Warren, who provides confidential assistance to any CSUB community member who is struggling with sexual assault, assures that you do not have to report to receive support.
You never have to report to receive support from CSUB. Title IX and the campus advocate is able to refer you to resources and help with accommodations with housing, classes, counseling and more,” said Warren. “If you or someone you know needs to talk or is going through anything please email me at [email protected] and I am here for you.”
Montejo does not believe SAAM and the one-hour Title IX course students are required to take each calendar year are enough to adequately inform students about and prevent students from experiencing sexual assault.
I think it’s great that they’re [dedicating a whole month to it]…but I think there should be more,” began Montejo. “Sexual assault is such a large problem that they should include [a required class in their curriculum]. Title IX is not doing enough or preventing enough. Make a course about it.”
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