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'Not anymore' sexual assault awareness

By Enzo Nagao
On November 20, 2015

For every 1,000 women attending college, more than 35 of them will experience sexual assault of some kind every academic year, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. The center also reports that nine out of 10 women will likely know their attackers personally.  

These statistics reflect a change in the collegiate climate, as well as a mounting problem among America’s student population. 

As part of a sweeping, nation-wide effort to cut down on sexual violence, the “Not Anymore” program seeks to educate, warn and inform students about the state of collegiate interpersonal violence, providing a wealth of statistics, information and personalized accounts. 

Begun after the passages of both the federally-mandated Campus SAVE Act and the Violence Against Women Act, which were signed by President Obama in 2014, the “Not Anymore” program is popular amongst colleges and universities and Kirkwood is participating as well. 

All students are now required to complete the video series “Not Anymore” by Dec. 1. However, the mandatory nature of the program has caused some students to view the program as a burden.

“It would be a lot more effective if more people took it seriously instead of just clicking through mindlessly,” said Camille Boman, a Kirkwood student studying Human Services. “I think it’s very educational. People don’t really realize how much these things happen and I feel like it tends to get swept beneath the rug a lot.”

The Dean of Students’ office began working, even before the federal mandate, to spread awareness and knowledge about interpersonal violence. 

“What they really wanted to make sure of was that students understand some very specific things, mainly the definitions of certain concepts like sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence,” said Melissa Payne, dean of students. 

Payne mentioned the other purpose of the program is to ensure that students could have access to databases and resources if they were struggling through a similar situation. 

Although the 2015 Kirkwood Security Report had no viable examples of sexual assault on any of the Kirkwood campuses, Payne acknowledged that there could be unreported incidents and that the administration’s main goal is to clamp down on interpersonal violence before it has a chance to happen. 

“It does take time,” Payne said, “but in terms of things you might spend time on, understanding the rules of our community is pretty important. On the one hand, I’ve had students come up and say that ‘This doesn’t have anything to do with me’ or ‘Why would you think this would be relevant to me’ but the statistics are clear: Sexual violence, stalking and domestic violence impacts a lot of college students.”

Payne added, “What’s really important to me is that when someone does report to us, that we can be supportive and create a situation where that person feels like they can continue being a student here. They can have the support they need to feel safe and move forward after a really difficult situation.”

Payne went on to emphasize that while the infrastructure and organization of “Not Anymore” is still being worked on, her ultimate goal is for the program to become a standard procedure for incoming students. 

Students looking for more information on the program or help with sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking can visit www.kirkwood.edu/notanymore.

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