Sexual assault has an incredibly high prevalence on college campuses around the country, including the University of Maryland. The University Senate should pass this policy to ensure every student has the necessary education to prevent sexual assaults.
This proposal, drafted by university students, recommends that every incoming undergraduate student be required to attend a sexual assault education workshop in their first semester. The university's Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Program (SARPP) helped draft the proposal and is already working on implementation details.
According to the Department of Justice, 1 in 5 female students will become a victim of sexual violence in her time during college. 1 in 5 women will also be in an abusive relationship during college. According to a 2000 University of Maryland study, 13.8 percent of UMD women will be a victim of rape during their time on this campus. Sexual assault is not just a women’s issue: One in seven men will also be sexually assaulted while in college.
This is a serious problem on this campus. From 2011-2012, The university’s Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Program (SARPP) saw 76 new clients — including 20 rape victims, 17 sexual assault victims, 5 gang rape victims, 6 attempted rape victims, 9 relationship violence victims and 12 stalking victims. It’s important to note that sexual assault is an extremely underreported crime. Statistically, according to the Department of Justice, only 5 percent of victims report the crime. The 76 clients that SARPP served last year is just the tip of the iceberg.
Sexual assault is a complex issue; prevention will not be achieved solely by hanging posters about consent in dorm hallways. Given these startling statistics, the university needs to be more proactive in educating its students about the nuances of this issue, how to get consent, how drinking affects consent, the consequences of sexual assault, etc. SARPP presents on these topics whenever requested, but too many students are missing out on this education. They shouldn’t be given the choice of whether or not they want to learn about sexual assault, because it’s a reality every student at this university must deal with.
View the full proposal here: http://www.senate.umd.edu/sms/index.cfm?event=publicViewBill&billId=289&context=s
**Update 4/4: Thank you so much for your help on this issue. As a campus, we've shown just how serious we are about ending sexual violence. I couldn't have gotten this far without you. I learned tonight that some of the Senate leaders have been receiving hate mail. Please, remember that the spirit of this petition is to decrease violence and hatred on our campus, not increase it. Both Martha Nell Smith and Cindi Hale, who are dealing with the proposal, are great advocates. Yes, I am frustrated that the legislation may be delayed another semester, but that's not because Smith and Hale don't care about this issue. Please continue to spread the petition in a peaceful and respectful manner. I know we can do this. I know we can create a campus free of rape. With every signature we get, we're one step closer.**