“One in Four” Urges Men to Report Sexual Assault
One in Four, a campus group dedicated to preventing sexual assault, made its debut on May 14 with a lecture entitled “How to Support a Sexual Assault Survivor: What Men Can Do,” aimed at providing its audience with the proper tools to assist a survivor of rape. The male-focused group, which derives its name from the statistic that one in four college women will survive rape or a rape attempt before college graduation, presented in the Pacific Ballroom A at the Student Center.
“Rape and sexual assault are not just women’s issues, but men’s issues as well,” began Robert Buelow, violence prevention coordinator of Campus Assaults Resources and Education, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, as he introduced the group. This statement set the tone for the entire program, in which One in Four strongly emphasized the need for men to become involved with the issues that do not seem to affect them.
Throughout the program, the club relied on visual imagery and public participation as a means of raising awareness of sexual assault amongst the audience and preparing them for any future situations. One component that used guided visual imagery was a graphic rape training video for police officers. The trainer, a police officer from the Seattle Police Department, guided his audience through a graphic scene of a police officer being raped. The trainer drew parallels between the police officer being raped and an ordinary person in a similar position. The parallels served as a reminder to the audience that any person, at any time and place could be subjected to a traumatizing situation.
In another highlight of the event, the audience was told to place themselves in such a difficult position. They were asked to visualize a party at which the person closest to them was intoxicated and helpless against a rape by someone else. Words such as “jerk,” “disgusting” and “spineless” came to mind as the audience was asked for their perceptions of the offender. The audience was also able to provide their own responses to the situation, such as looking after the victim and refusing to leave.
“The visual imagery was too graphic for me, but if that’s what it takes for people to learn, then we need to do that,” said Monica Trigoso, a third-year sociology major.
One in Four also provided the audience with tools to help sexual-assault survivors. Such tools included the legal definitions of rape and sexual assault according to the state of California, which are based on the premise that both acts show evidence of forced sexual acts without a person’s consent. Other tools for helping sexual-assault survivors included listening to the victim, encouraging him/her to seek medical attention within 72 hours and believing the victim when he/she states the assault.
From there, the organization presented methods on how someone – specifically men, as they were the target audience of the presentation – can help end rape. Some prevention tips included opening the lines of communication between two people, seeking the other person’s consent before committing to sexual acts, changing any offensive language and facilitating a venue for survivors to share their stories of abuse.
Although the presentation was aimed at men, they did not make up a large portion of the audience.
“I am disappointed that more guys didn’t show up to the event,” said Rajiv Ramdeo, a first-year graduate student in environmental toxicology. Ramdeo believed they would have benefited from the positive message One in Four was trying to present.
“It was good they talked about the [sexual assault] issues not many people bring up in conversations,” Ramdeo said.
Trigoso also noted that she was “impressed with the group’s sensitivity and commitment to issues of rape and sexual assault. The members represent their group’s values and live with them in all situations.”
At the end of the program, One in Four concluded with a statistic from a 2005 U.S. survey that stated a rate of 20 women are raped per hour. With this lasting statement, One in Four left its audience more aware and inspired to help survivors and stop sexual abuse.