KOKOMO, Ind. — If you are prepared, you don’t have to live in fear.
Indiana University Kokomo prepares its students to prevent themselves and others from becoming victims, during Sexual Assault Awareness Week.
Red flags line the sidewalks in the campus quad, reminding students to look for warning signs, or “red flags,” of sexual violence, so they can step up and help.
“Bystander intervention is one of the most effective interventions,” said Dean of Students Sarah Sarber. “Most people want to help, but don’t know how. We can teach you how to take action safely.”
The programming is part of IU’s Student Welfare Initiative, ramping up efforts on all campuses for sexual violence prevention and response. National statistics show that approximately one in every five women will be sexually assaulted while in college, while as many as 5 percent of college men will be victims.
The week’s events include a self-defense workshop, discussions of issues related to sex, drugs, and alcohol, two Step Up intervention training workshops, and a resource table.
“This is an important topic for all college students, on campuses small and large,” Sarber said. “We want our students to know how to defend themselves, and what resources are available to help them if needed.”
The weeks’ activities began with a self-defense workshop, taught by Jeff Riley and Gill Journey, police officers from Indiana University — Purdue University Indianapolis. The officers demonstrated techniques the women attending may use to defend themselves if they are attacked.
“The more prepared you are, the less you need to live in fear,” Riley said. “Predators look for the easy victim. Be aware of your surroundings, and make eye contact. Don’t be the easy victim.”
The Step Up training workshops are from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, September 23, and 11:30 to 1 p.m. Thursday, September 24, in the Cole Room. Reservations are not required, and participants will receive a free T-shirt. The workshops train students how to intervene as bystanders.
“We want everyone to be aware of what is happening around them, and if you see something, say something,” said Maria Ahmad, coordinator of student life and campus diversity. “It may be as simple as picking up your cell phone and calling the police, or creating a distraction so the victim can get away. This can happen to anyone.”
Other events for the week include “Sex Signals,” an improv show that provides a provocative, in-your-face look at issues surrounding dating, sex, and date rape on college campuses, at noon Wednesday; and the “Red Out” home volleyball game vs. Purdue University Calumet, at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Cougar Gym. Cougar fans are asked to wear red for Sexual Assault Awareness Week.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.