Greek community holds sexual violence awareness panel discussion

Emely Navarro, edited by Wesley Beights

by Emely Navarro, Staff Writer

Last week, the San Diego State Greek community and Greek Life and Health Promotion staff hosted a week of events relating to sexual violence awareness.

On Thursday, the community hosted a discussion “Supporting Survivors, Survivor Stories and a Panel Discussion of Resources at SDSU.”

The discussion covered personal stories from rape survivors and a panel discussion that included Deputy Title IX Coordinator Lee Mintz, SDSU police officer David Lee and psychologist for SDSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services Jada Cade.

Jasmin Enriquez is the founder and executive director of Only With Consent, an organization that teaches consent education. Enriquez opened with the discussion with the story of her rape that occurred at Pennsylvania State University.

Enriquez was intimately involved at the time with a partner from a fraternity who raped her in a bedroom closet while she was asleep after a party.

“When I woke up I remember just laying on my left side, staring out a window, just trying to figure out what was happening and what I was feeling in my body and why this was happening and what was going on,” Enriquez said.

Shocked that somebody who she truly cared about would do that to her and not knowing what to do, she asked him to put the pieces of the night back together.

“He told me that I wanted to do it and I was asking for it and if I didn’t want to do this I shouldn’t have gotten so blasted,” Enriquez said. “I knew this wasn’t me because the only sexual experience I had before that was when I got raped in high school by a sexual partner.”

Enriquez felt alone because she thought no one would believe her, so she stayed quiet about her experience.

After a couple of months she opened up to a friend who listened and comforted her. She credits this friend for saving her life.

Mechanical engineer senior Emily Marsden was a lead organizer of the discussion, as well as the “A Sexual Violence and Prevention Awareness Series” that took about a month to organize. Marsden said it was vital to have Enriquez and the faculty at the panel.

“You can definitely feel for her and see how such a small action can have a huge impact than just hearing about it,” Marsden said of Enriquez.

Faculty on the panel discussed how much they care about the students and how emotional they get in every case of sexual assault.

“The school, and myself are mostly concerned about the safety of the students,” Mintz said.

During the panel, Mintz explained how the campus process for sexual assault is completely separate from the criminal process. She also emphasized that a student will not be punished if they were drinking underage or trespassing when an incident of sexual assault occurs, therefore it should not be a reason for someone not to report it.

Cade shared the distress she feels when hearing about the prevalent issue on campus.

“I care about every student that I talk to and I worry about them, and it hurts my heart that it is not a healthy community,” Cade said. “We’re trying so many different approaches to figure out what works, and we don’t always know and can predict what will be the most effective, but we are trying to improve this problem.”

Brandon Pierce, a kinesiology senior and member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, said he was proud to attend and bring light to this subject.

“With such a negative subject like this we can try to take a positive route and be the influence on trying to change the culture on campus,” Pierce said.

Thursday’s panel was one of several events from last week’s series: “Join Us: A Sexual Violence Prevention and Awareness Series.”