Taped to the doors of bathroom stalls all over campus are sexual conduct posters with phrases like, “Consent is not about the absence of a ‘no,’ but about an enthusiastic ‘YES!’”
These posters are part of the university’s effort to prevent sexual assault by spreading awareness on how to best protect oneself and others.
Last week the Association of American Universities released the results of their most recent Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. More than 150,000 students at 27 total universities completed the online survey, making it one of the largest surveys on campus climate in relation to sexual assault and misconduct. Case Western Reserve University recently released the results of its students’ surveys, available online on CWRU’s website.
This survey helps to inform CWRU staff and administration of students’ experiences and the support they need when it comes to sexual assault.
“My real hope is that the same programming on healthy relationships will reach potential perpetrators and stop them from committing these acts,” said Susan Freimark, acting director and associate director of faculty leadership programs at the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women.
Resources like the Student Advocate at the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, the student group Sexual Assault and Violence Educators and Associate Vice President and Title IX Coordinator Darnell Parker all exist to provide effective support.
“A lot of educational programming has been focused on defining healthy relationships and that has allowed many victims to realize that they are victims, that the way they have been treated is unacceptable,” said Freimark.
The best way to support a victim of sexual assault?
“Be there for your friend on her terms,” Freimark said, referring to all victims. “Especially remember that a few months after the experience when everyone has lessened their attention and care of the victim, she may be at her loneliest with her memories.”
In both the CWRU survey and the cumulative results from all participating universities, the populations most likely to experience sexual assault or harassment were undergraduate women and non-cisgender individuals.
Of CWRU’s respondents, 2/3 reported that they had experienced some sort of sexual harassment during their time here, which is slightly more than the national average. However, 68.1 percent rated it as very or extremely likely that a report of sexual assault would be taken seriously by campus officials, which is higher than the national average.