Rutgers teaching student how to stop sexual assault before it happens
Rutgers University has a long history of responding to and preventing campus sexual violence and providing support for victims of sexual assault. But Sarah McMahon, associate professor at Rutgers School of Social Work, and an associate director at the Center on Violence against Women and Children, says more needs to be done.
Research indicates that about 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college.
McMahon says campus climate surveys in 2014 in New Brunswick and 2016 in Newark and Camden found that while Rutgers has a number of resources available for students who experience violence, students are not aware of these resources or how to contact them.
So the We R Here Campaign was created to "increase awareness of those resources, make it easier for students to know how to access those resources if something happens, but also to become involved in our many efforts across all of our campuses to join in prevention, to raise awareness."
On each campus there is an office solely dedicated to addressing campus sexual violence with support, resources, educational programs and training available, says McMahon
McMahon says on all campuses, students can learn skills such as bystander intervention where they can learn how to intervene in situations that seem risky to them. It also helps students recognize what sexual violence is and what situations may lead up to an incident of sexual violence and how students can intervene in ways that are safe and effective before an incident escalates.
With bystander intervention training, students also learn how to respond to their peers if their peers share their experiences of sexual violence with them.
We R Here campaign includes a public service announcement that was filmed with students from each of the campuses to talk about resources and to encourage their peers to come forward and seek assistance. It also encourages students to become involved in efforts to make a safer community.
Events to shed light on sexual assault and domestic violence are being held on each of the Rutgers' campuses throughout the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.