UC students pledge against sexual harassment and dating violence

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Maggie Reid, Assistant Features Editor

Members of the UC community gathered in Strebel Student Lounge on Nov. 27 to stand against sexual assault and dating violence. Students and faculty filled the room, listening to Senior Investigator for the Bureau of Criminal Investigations Dennis Dougherty and Oneida County Community Educator for the YWCA Melissa Loicano.

Topics that were addressed during the meeting included Title IX, the prevalence of dating violence and how to be proactive in violent situations.

Dougherty, who started his career as a New York State trooper before becoming an investigator for sexual assault on college campuses, spoke on the role of responsibility when acts dating violence and sexual assault occur.

“Those who commit assault do it over,” Dougherty said. “Everyone on campus has a responsibility to recognize these issues [such as] sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.”

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while more than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault.

“In almost every case I investigated, the victim knew their attacker.” Dougherty said. “They were classmates, friends or lived in the same dorm.”

Melissa Loicano from the YWCA spoke about dating violence.

“Physical violence is easy to describe,” Loicano said. “In the media, it’s a girl with a black eye and tears running down her face. What about same sex couples? What about when the abuser is a female?”

According to Loicano, one in seven men report being in a dating violence situation while stereotypes often keep men from reporting.

“For every single person confident enough to leave, there are three people who will put up with it in order to stay in that relationship,” Loicano said. “When someone has to know who you are with, that’s an obsessive behavior. You should all have lives separate from your relationship.”

Emotional abuse counts as your significant other asking you to quit something you love because they think you do not spend enough time together. Isolation happens a little at a time, Loicano said, and it does not get reported.

“We don’t think of the ways that people get control,” she said. “I wish I could say it was just a college issue, but it’s not. Sexual assault happens to all ages. We have to think about what is going on and what is happening. College is a perfect storm; it’s the chance to try new things. We have to get confirmative consent. If you are in a relationship and you start to accept things that shouldn’t happen, it mirrors the entire relationship. When we don’t speak out, we give these horrible things strength.”

Junior Melanie MacDonald found the meeting important and feels events like this are important.

“It’s good to educate people about the signs of domestic/emotional abuse and be able to give them the assistance they may need,” she explained.

Emily Rembetski, a senior, organized this event, which she said took two months of planning.

“Title IX is an important issue that is happening, but not too many people know about,” Rembetski said. “There needs to be more awareness, and a student putting this on rather than faculty drives more people to go, especially in this age with social media.”

Rembetski realized that as a student she could have an impact on those around her by putting on an event like this.

“I realized I can have such a huge impact on campus and can do some good,” she said.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault or dating violence, contact Campus Safety by calling (315) 792-3201 or contacting Title IX Coordinator Lisa Green at (315) 792-3276

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