It’s On Us campaign takes on sexual assault awareness

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Photo credit: Julie Ostler | Assistant Photo Editor | @jules1lo


People are less likely to provide help to a sexual assault victim if others are present. That theory is known as the bystander effect, which was one of the key topics discussed in a sexual assault workshop that focused on bystander intervention.

The workshop Jan. 21 focused on the bystander effect and the importance of action from anyone that may witness or know of an assault. The presenter, Maren Turnidge of the UVU Ombuds Office, stressed how important education is for students and faculty in the prevention of sexual assault.

“They’re low,” Turnidge said of the statistics for sexual assault at UVU. “We have a pretty big population.”

Turnidge referred to a great student population and an administrative effort toward education as some of the key causes of UVU’s low sexual assault statistics. That effort toward education starts with orientation for UVU students before their first semester, said Turnidge.

According to statistics presented during the workshop, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college.

A recent survey conducted by the American Association of Universities suggests that for many universities in the United States, these statistics are not far off. The AAU survey showed that 23.1 percent of undergraduate female respondents and 5.4 percent of undergraduate male respondents “experienced nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force, threats of physical force, or incapacitation.” The survey was conducted at 27 universities with over 150,000 students; however no university in Utah took part in the survey.

The UVU Police Annual Security Report for 2012 – 2014 shows five incidents relating to sex offenses and dating violence on campus property.

Turnidge said that she and her colleagues would continue to be consistent with training and education opportunities for students and faculty, regardless of low attendance at any one event. Turnidge said that she has a “we build it, they come” mentality for these workshops and feels it is worth it for any number of students and faculty to attend.

The remaining workshops will discuss Consent Feb. 25, Sexual Assault Recovery March 29, and Developing Healthy Relationships April 6.