by Natalie Yuhas
According to a 2013 report released by The U.S. Department of Justice with survey data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, between the years of 1995 and 2013, there was an average annual number of 31,302 (6.1 per 1,000) female college students who experienced rape or sexual assault. Even more alarmingly, the study found that 80% of sexual assault crimes went unreported among students, noting that 26% of students found the issue to be “a personal matter” and 12% considered it “not important enough to report.”
When many people think about the issues of sexual assault and rape, they seems like detached issue or instance initiated by a villainous stranger, when in fact, it happens, oftentimes, in average, ordinary lives and relationships. According to the same report from The U.S. Department of Justice, 80% of victims of rape and sexual assault reported to have known the offender before, which makes rape education all the more important and necessary on college campuses to instill a culture of respect and acknowledgement of human dignity.
Bystander Intervention is a sexual assault prevention program at Boston College that focuses on encouraging students to actively stand up and speak out against sexual assault on campus.
Bystander Intervention, through an hour long interactive presentation, aims to educate students on first, how to define and recognize sexual assault, and second, how to prevent it from happening. The program helps students “develop safe, effective, and personal plans to combat situations that could lead to sexual violence” and know how to execute that plan if the situation arises.
Another aim of Bystander Intervention is to educate students against promoting an environment that contributes to a culture of sexual violence and how to “recognize the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, jokes, and images.” It focuses on building a culture of respect.
Rape and sexual assault are not just women’s issues; they also affect the men on campus as well. It is unacceptable that any person experiences sexual assault, and Bystander Intervention truly embodies the Jesuit mission of being men and women for others.
For any questions on Bystander Intervention, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To schedule a Bystander presentation, fill out the request form at http://www.bc.edu/offices/wc/bystander-intervention/requestpresentation.html.