Gone are the days when it was assumed that violence simply did not happen at higher education institutions. Gone, too, are the days when the hard work of prevention and response could be left to one staff person or student group. And campuses are better for it: safer, more open places where students can engage in healthier relationships.
Administrators and staffpeople are working together in the service of students to form a network of institutional support for prevention.
To join their important work, explore below.
At the Minnesota Department of Health, we believe that sexual violence is preventable. On this page, you can find resources for college students, faculty, staff, journalists and parents.
How the media interprets and reports stories about sexual assault greatly influences the ways that the public views and understands sexual violence.
Does the article you're writing focus on details which lead the reader to believe that the victim is at fault, such as what clothing they were wearing?
Does the report situate an incident within the context of the nationwide endemic levels of sexual violence, or treat the case as an isolated act of a mentally ill perpetrator?
Both of these frameworks play into, and reinforce, the myths which surround sexual violence. Learn below how your reporting can lay the groundwork for preventing sexual violence through education, awareness, and social norms change.
Recommended resource: Reporting on Sexual Violence: A Guide for Journalists, by the MN Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Imagine a world where rape and sexual assault never happened.
Potential partners' motivation and intentions would not be doubted; those who are often seen by society as potential victims would not have to worry about their evening taking a horrible turn; those who are often seen by society as potential perpetrators would not have to feel that their friendliness is being mistaken for something insidious.
No one would suffer from health effects or difficulty in school related to the trauma of sexual assault either as a child or adolescent or while attending college.
Students can organize themselves into a force for social change to work for a world free from sexual violence. How can you become an advocate and ally on your campus?
It's scary to think of the high rates of sexual violence that occur on college campuses. It's the last thing your student deserves, and the last thing that any person should have to contend with in their quest for an education.
The best action you can take for your son or daughter is to advocate for a stronger institutional framework of prevention and response. As a 'customer,' what you say matters, and you can be a part of bringing campus-wide change to your student's school.
On a personal level, you can educate yourself on the dynamics of sexual violence at college, and share this knowledge with your son or daughter.
And, most importantly, you can be there for your student if they tell you they've been assaulted.
Are you a male looking to DO something to prevent sexual violence?
On the Minnesota Men's Action Network website, find resources like:
- The B.E.S.T. (Be Equal, Safe, and Trustworthy) Model: Preventing Sexual and Domestic Violence with Parties Women Love: This primary prevention model engages students, staff, and faculty in shaping one of the single most dangerous social environments on campus through party policy and practice changes that make it safe to have fun.
- Primary Prevention Committees: Organizing Campuses to End Sexual and Relationship Violence: The Committee brings together key adminsitrators, students, faculty, and staff to assess and develop strategies to change the campus social environment in relation to gender equity and violence against women.
- Bystanders in Action: This program increases peer leadership focused on intervening in negative situations, with a special emphasis on how individuals can work together to shape the social environment to stop the harm before it starts.
- Game Plan: Preventing Sexual and Relationship Violence: This program helps coaches and athletes learn how to use their status to create a safer and more respectful campus environment for women. Athletes serve as role models and facilitate activites in afterschool and summer school prgramming designed to tie prvention messages to athletics.
You are in the unique position of developing relationships with tens, hundreds, and thousands of students. Between 20-25% of those will be raped at some point in their college career. Through your speech and actions, you can become known as an ally in the work for a safer and healthier, more accepting campus, free from sexual violence.
- Make your classroom and office a safe space for discussions of gender, sexuality and violence;
- integrate violence prevention lessons into your curricula through innovative partnerships with your fellow colleagues who study it or through off-campus learning opportunities;
- Be prepared to respond when someone discloses to you by knowing reporting procedures and having resources for students at your fingertips
How often does sexual violence occur on college campuses?
According to the National Institute of Justice1, over the course of their college career 1 in 4 women and 1 in 17 men will be raped.
Why does sexual violence occur so often?
Risk factors for perpetrating sexual violence2 reveal why rates are so high. Risk factors include having friends who are sexually aggressive; engaging in heavy alcohol or drug use; and being exposed to social norms, or shared beliefs, that support sexual violence.
How can you prevent sexual violence on your campus?
At Minnesota Department of Health, we believe that sexual violence is preventable. The key is found in partnerships among diverse groups of stakeholders and a strategy of social norms and environmental change which targets the roots of sexual violence. We all have a part to play in preventing sexual violence: journalists, faculty, administrators, staff, parents, and students.