Campus Life Editor
Trigger warning: This article contains discussions of sexual assault and violence.
This article is also available in print: the Quaker Campus Issue 19, Volume 4, dated Oct. 14.
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that was passed to protect individuals from discrimination based on sex in any education program or activities that receive any federal funding; this includes the protection of survivors of sexual violence. In an ongoing effort to educate the campus on Title IX, the Dean of Students office is putting on a five part series titled Project IX that is open for anyone on campus to attend. The first event in the series took place on October 7, 2021 and was hosted over Zoom. The kickoff to the Title IX series was hosted by the Title IX intern and Residential Advisor, fourth-year Norma de la Rosa, Project Sister campus advocate, Tyler Gutierrez, and a representative from the Counseling Center, Dr. Rebecca Romberger.
Tyler Gutierrez, who is the Project Sister Family Services campus advocate, primarily supports college students that are victims of sexual, physical, domestic, or dating violence. Project Sister Family Services is an advocacy group based in Pomona, CA that provides crisis intervention, survivor advocacy, outreach, and counseling. Some services that Project Sister provides includes accompanying survivors to hospitals, police departments, court and schools, two 24-hour hotlines, education for K-12 and college level students on consent, healthy relationships, rape culture, individual therapy, group therapy, and support groups for family members. Their services can also be provided in Spanish.
In this session, Gutierrez and de la Rosa discussed the statistics of sexual assault on college campuses. Among all the crimes committed, sexual assault is more prevalent college campuses. They shared that in college, one in four women will join a sorority, one will commute, one will study abroad, one will consider pursuing their Ph.D., and one will be sexually assaulted. While in college, one in sixteen men and one in four women are assaulted. In those instances, the rapist is male 99% of the time and will assault someone six or more times during their academic careers. Members of fraternities are 3 times more likely to commit rape and college athletes reportedly commit 19% of sexual assaults on campus. A man is more likely to be a survivor of assault than be falsely accused. We are also in the Red Zone, in which more than 50% of college sexual assaults happen in August, September, October, or November.
In the presentation, it was clear that Project IX was committed to letting students know that we have rights that protect survivors of sexual assault. The purpose of Project IX is to reinforce the idea that survivors have agency and the choice to pick what is best for them. Survivors have options and can reach out for support, to report, or both. On our campus, you can report to the Title IX coordinator or advocacy group to have your options explained to you. In the case that you do go through with filing a report, the school will conduct a formal investigation and hearing. If it is applicable, there can be sanctions and protections put in place for the survivor. The Title IX coordinator on campus can assist with accommodations on a case by case basis such as but not limited to a no contact directive, extra time on exams, excused absences, and housing accommodations.
There are resources on and off-campus available for survivors of sexual assault. The Whittier College Counseling Center is an excellent source for assistance and can be contacted at 562.907.4239. You can also contact the Title IX coordinator to make a report, start an investigation, or to request accommodations at 562.907.4830 or email Deanna Merino-Contino, Interim Vice President and Dean of Students, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Campus Safety is also available at all hours at 562.907.4911.
The Project Sister hotline is available 24/7 and can be reached at 909.626.4357. Freefrom.org offers financial support, workshops, and is dedicated to creating an environment where survivors can thrive. KnowYour9 is a youth advocacy project that empowers students to stop sexual violence. The resources available on their website help educate folks to know their rights when involving Title IX. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is a non-profit organization that has a free confidential 24/7 hotline that can be reached at 800.656.HOPE and chat function on their website as well.
Although this was the first of five events on Title IX, it was very informative and educational on resources for survivors of sexual assault. The Dean of Students will be hosting four more events educating our campus community. It is open to all students and everyone is encouraged to attend to learn more about advocacy, resources, and more!
Featured Image: Courtesy of thefire.org