Campuses to Bolster Sexual Violence Programs

UCI programs and services for sexual violence victims fall directly under the new federal provisions for universities.

 

The 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act passed by the House of Representatives last month will take effect next March, and a provision of the act will provide strict measures for the University of California and colleges nationwide to uphold the safety for victims of sexual violence.

The provision, called the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, offers support for victims of sexual violence or stalking. The provision makes its services available through  better university police response, improved programs aimed to prevent sexual violence, services for victims and requirements for the  university to accommodate the student’s housing or working needs.

With a vote of 286 to 138, a majority of Democrats and all women joined in support of the act with half the vote from Republicans. The bill ensures expanded protection for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and American Indians, as well as undocumented survivors.

UC Irvine offers educational programs against domestic violence, one being the Campus Assault Resources and Education center (CARE). CARE offers numerous programs to educate the campus community and provides counseling sessions along with workshops for individual and group sessions.

Anjalee Behti, co-coordinator of Right To KNOW, a female peer educator group on behalf of CARE, emphasizes the importance of the bill passing as all the programs VAWA funds support the purpose of the organization.

“As much as I know about the act and what it does and the programs and services it offers, it was pretty much like the foundation of everything that we do,” she said.

“With less funding, there will be fewer programs, especially when rape is viewed as a light matter,” Behti said.

CARE also provides the available resources such as the male peer educator group, Challenging All Men to Prevent Sexism (CHAMPS), and the Counseling Center, which students can rely on to contact any time, and the Community Service Programs (CSP) that includes a 24-hour hotline.

Among the wide range of available resources that CARE offers, the UC Irvine Police Department and the Student Health Center work closely among students to take active measures to prevent rape, domestic violence and stalking. UCI also offers local medical programs such as Safe Place, a sexual assault examination unit located at the Anaheim Regional Medical Center.

Alana Rotti, VIP Chair of Tri-Delta, says that her involvement with Right To KNOW has actively engaged her to spread awareness among the Greek community.

“It’s important to college students when one out of every four females experiences either attempted or sexual violence,” she said. “It is really important that people look into this and utilize all of the resources that it provides.”

When the bill becomes effective next March, Rotti hopes it will provide grants to college campuses and reach out among a larger community.