Sexual Violence on college campuses is a reality…and what you can do

9 02 2009

Tufts, like many other institutions, has suffered from the economic downturn and this has certainly impacted many areas of life at Tufts from academic departments and programs to student services. Unfortunately, usually when the economy suffers and budget cuts abound, the programs that get hit possibly the hardest tend to be women’s programs such as Women’s Studies, sex/sexuality education, women’s health programs, etc.

The end of last year marked the end of Tufts’ Campus Violence Prevention Grant which jeopardized the existence of Women’s Studies 92: Rape Crisis and Recovery (a.k.a. Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence). WS 92 was offered and is occuring this semester luckily, but for a long time it was unknown whether or not Tufts would provide the funding for the Women’s Studies program to offer that course.

Courses as such are critical and need to be taught because sexual assault is a reality on every college campus. That is not a pretty fact nor is it something people want to think about but it’s true. Many institutions of higher education fail to acknowledge sexual violence as a reality and do not provide adequate resources or support services for students who have been sexually assaulted or raped.

This needs to change. If you want to get involved in addressing sexual violence on campus, there is a great student activist group, PACT (Prevention, Awareness and Community at Tufts) that is an arm of the Health Services / Health Ed which meets at the Women’s Center every Monday during open block. There are three sub-groups which have separate meeting times: sexual health/sexual violence, mental health, and alcohol/drugs. PACT is planning exciting events for the rest of the semester. Come to the meetings and get involved! For more information, email PactAtTufts@gmail.com

Also, another great resource to check out is SAFER: Students Active for Ending Rape (http://www.safercampus.org/). SAFER is a national non profit organization that helps empower student activists to hold their colleges/universities accountable for sexual assault in their communities. Unfortunately it has suffered severe budget cuts but it is run by an amazing group of people who are committed to working towards ending sexual violence. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Vagina Monologues (Friday, February 27th) will be going to SAFER.


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