UNLV Organizations Stand Against Sexual Misconduct
It is more than a secret observance, more than just a touch, more than following behind someone, and it is illegal.
That is the message University of Nevada, Las Vegas officials want to convey to students about sexual misconduct.
Sexual misconduct is any number of behaviors that violates someone without their consent such as “a person who subjects another person to sexual penetration, or who forces another person to make a sexual penetration on himself or herself or another, against the will of the victim or under conditions in which the perpetrator knows or should know that the victim is mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of his or her conduct, is guilty of sexual assault,” according to UNLV.
Universities all across the country recognize this kind of action to be a part of students’ environments and follow Title IX that pertains to sexual harassment and violence in the Education Amendments to uphold the rights of students.
UNLV provides resources and programs to their scholars, and certain student organizations make it their priority to train and assist individuals on campus for situations of distress or harassment.
The Jean Nidetch Women’s Center is an outlet for services and a supportive environment for the UNLV community.
Within this establishment is the Green Dot Program, a nationally based research informed program aimed at activating a bystander’s action and reaction to prevent violence. It activates the bystanders’ reaction, and also prepares them to be proactive.
It is completely symbolic, inspired by a crime map possibly seen in a newspaper. Red dots stand for crime and this new green dot initiative represents offsetting that violence.
The Office of Violence Against Women program manager Lisa McAllister within the Women’s Center works with community and campus entities to respond to victims of sexual assault and meet every month to figure out better ways to serve those affected.
On college campuses three in 10 women report being hurt physically or emotionally by their stalker, according to the Women’s Center.
The Green Dot Program allows for “a new trend in violence prevention because previously people would be looking at the victim or they would very rarely look at the perpetrator and this takes it away from either of those two parties,” McAllister said. “Most people are neither a victim or a perpetrator.”
President of Campus Advocacy and Resource Empowerment advocates and lead CARE advocate of Women’s Center, Holly Ramella, describes that the CARE advocates provide any assistance people need.
“We provide services for victims and survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence stalking,” Ramella said. “Whether that’s just sitting there and listening to people, validating them, providing them with resources. Whatever they decide they want, we help them with that process.”
These resources help change the norms and get students to believe that violence is not acceptable.
UNLV students who are part of a sorority or fraternity must attend a Greek 101 class during sister/brother initiation to understand their responsibility as a new member.
Megan Brower, the program coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Life, explains sexual misconduct as one of the top three categories that are emphasized due to the association it has with sorority and fraternity life along with alcohol safety, hazing, diversity and values of organizations.
“Fraternity and sorority life is also partnered with the Green Dot Initiative,” Brower said. “One of our fraternities is very active with it, Alpha Tau Omega. They actually train their whole chapter which basically gives all of their men the tools to intervene.”
Alpha Tau Omega takes sexual misconduct seriously and is not the only fraternity educating its students in prevention and assistance.
Avi Roberts, the brother at large of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, further explains that guys in his fraternity “learn about sexual harassment from the littlest thing to the biggest thing. It’s a very informative and unbiased program.”
The residence halls at UNLV also have their way of creating and sustaining a community on campus.
The assistant director of residential education in Housing and Residential Life, Orlando White, indicates that the resident assistants are required to participate in 180 hours of education and training.
“Many residents just assume it’s the staff just walking around and saying “Hi,” but really they are the eyes and ears to anything that may be going on in the residence hall,” White said. “Often the first line of support for someone who might be dealing with interpersonal violence in the halls.”
The RA training related to interpersonal violence comes in partnership with the Jean Nidetch Women’s Center and all of them are Green Dot certified. “It has been great to partner with the Women’s Center for this training because we have access to expert resources,” White said.
Students of the residence hall also bring the police department in for self-defense courses.
These student organizations are just some of the ones on campus that educate, train and provide guidance for sexual assault cases.
“I pledge to recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault. To identify a situation that sexual assault may occur,” Brower recited the It’s On Us campaign pledge. “To intervene. To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable.”
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