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UIS fights to prevent sexual assault

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On college campuses nationwide, one in four women will be sexually assaulted or raped, according to Women’s Center Director Lynn Otterson.

“One of the important things schools are trying to do is make sure that victims know their rights,” said Otterson. Otterson discussed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), signed by President Obama on March 7 of this year. The act mandates that college campuses review, and if needed, modify their safety policies. It also mandates that campuses send out annual reports on forcible and non-forcible sex offenses, aggravated assaults, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

“If we can change the culture for 18 to 26 year olds, we’ve just changed the world,” said Otterson.

Otterson also said the Women’s Center will start a new class in Spring 2014 called, Campus Acquaintance Rape Education (CARE). This four credit hour class will count as a criminal justice class and ECCE class and will be taught by Adjunct Professor Elise LoBue.

In addition to LoBue’s knowledge of women and gender studies, several guests will be brought in to offer the class a different perspective on the class material. CARE, along with other programs offered, such as RAD, will help to increase awareness on campus.

Rape aggression defense, or RAD, is a self-defense class designed to teach women realistic self defense techniques.

“I think that RAD is really positive. I am not sure how many crimes are prevented…but it is a good class because it empowers women,” said Otterson.

“I think one of the main things that the class taught me was self-confidence. Knowing that I can take what I learned from the class and use it in real life,” said Bria Grant, junior English and communications double major. “They don’t just teach you moves, they also show you how to effectively end certain situations and use those moves to protect yourself.”

Aerie Nhung, senior transfer student from Vietnam, is taking the class. According to Nhung, “It is a really amazing class. I love it. I can’t wait for the next class.” She said that even though she has not been taking the class for that long she feels equipped to handle even minor situations.

“I recommend [RAD] for any woman, all around the world,” Nhung said.

Preventing offenders from attacking will be a struggle for years to come, but equipping this generation with the knowledge that they need to help themselves is what the Women’s Center is hoping to do. Building awareness is an easy task that everyone can do. If people know the facts they can protect themselves and others around them.

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