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Info to avoid sexual assault on CSU campus

The Women and Gender Advocacy Center (WGAC) sees an average of one new sexual assault victim at CSU every day, according to Director Kathy Sisneros.

One-in-four women and one-in-six men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Due to the substantial number of these types of incidents at CSU, there are many that can benefit from knowing how to avoid sexual assault.

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According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, the best ways to avoid sexual assault by a stranger is to be aware of your surroundings, avoid isolation, walk with purpose, trust your instincts, pack light, keep your cell phone with you and avoid putting headphones into both ears.

Though sexual assaults at CSU can be perpetrated by strangers, 95-97% of assaults reported at CSU are committed by someone with a known connection to the victim, according to the WGAC website.

“Attacks from strangers get way more press, but people you know; that’s the epidemic,” said WGAC Director Kathy Sisneros.

For avoiding sexual assault by a known assailant, RAINN advises women  and men to travel with friends, trust your instincts, don’t leave drinks unattended, don’t accept drinks from strangers, watch out for others, and always try to have an escape route in mind. RAINN states that potential victims can do whatever they feel is necessary to get out of a dangerous situation, including lying or making up excuses to leave a room.

In order to combat the issue of sexual assaults by known assailants, the WGAC is focusing on consent training for all incoming and current students.

“A lot of young men don’t know what consent means,” Sisneros said.

Freshmen attend a consent training class before attending CSU, and afterward they gather into small groups to discuss sexual violence. Each group is asked to write on a piece of paper, with no name, whether they have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime.

Sisneros found one group submission that revealed 13 out of the 15 freshmen had experienced sexual violence.

The WGAC reaches out to freshmen and all students on campus with their campaign, Consent Turns Me On (CTMO). CTMO wants to decrease sexual violence at CSU by advertising consensual sexual relationships in a fun and engaging manner.

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For those who have already experienced sexual violence, the WGAC has two volunteers on call every day for any assistance needed.

“We’re here, we’re ready, whenever the student is ready,” Sisneros said.

Collegian Senior Reporter Caitlin Curley can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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