Sexual Assault Awareness at SMC
With allegation after allegation, the acting industry has shaken up the world and raised major headlines in the news regarding sexual assault.
Recent events such as the Harvey Weinstein scandal, where numerous actors accused the producer of sexual misconduct, have stirred a national discussion over sexual harassment from men.
While these recent cases of sexual assault seem to be common, it has always been prevalent for women beyond the world of Hollywood.
Social media movements like #MeToo, founded by Tanara Burke to raise sexual harassment awareness for young women of color, have campaigned against sexual assault in an attempt to amplify how common these cases are.
The issue begs the question of how secure students feel in a campus environment about sexual harassment. Dr. Danilo Donoso, a postdoctoral intern at the Center for Wellness and Well-being discusses the center's efforts to assess the situation on campus.
“It doesn’t look like we do any outreach about how to prevent sexual assault," Donoso said. "But what we do is provide psychological services, therapy, and we make resources available to students...one of those resources is Title IX."
Under Title IX federal law, SMC is to follow the "Education Amendment" that prohibits discrimination based on the premise of sex including rape, sexual harassment, or assault. SMC's Title IX Coordinator was unresponsive to interview requests.
Students can utilize Title IX by urging administrators to implement policies that comply with Title IX to prevent and respond to sexual assault on campus.
While the Wellness Center focuses on treatment for students, Dr. Donoso considers shifting the focus to awareness of potential abusers about what is and is not consent.
“If you were to hold a workshop ‘How Not to Sexually Assault Somebody’ I don’t know- would people show up to that? It doesn’t mean there should not be awareness and outreach about it," Donoso said. "Would somebody who is inclined to do that to a person even take anything like that seriously? Maybe there’s somebody who lacks the understanding on what is decent behavior."
Workshops educating SMC students about consent help take steps towards prevention. Yes Means Yes - Consent is a Man's Issue Too, a workshop hosted by the Office of Human Resources, promotes students to learn that sexual assault is not just a women's issue.
The Associated Students board recently voted in favor of a plan to build a new Social Justice & Gender Equity Center on campus, a safe space that provides students services catering to social issues including gender, sexual identity, and experiences with sexual harassment. The center is planned to open by Fall of 2018.
Donoso urges men all over to "take responsibility for their actions and as a group. Become just as concerned as women are if not more so."