Assault statistics high; awareness low

by Ana Ceballos

Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor

With the alarming statistics that one in four women will be sexually assaulted while attending college and less than 5 percent of rapes are reported, according to The Campus Sexual Assault Study, services and programs on campus dealing with sexual assault issues are important.

Although San Diego State provides Counseling & Psychological Services and Student Health Services to supp

ort anyone who has been a victim of any type of sexual assault, a more compact plan is needed to help students overcome all forms of physical or emotional violence, according to Nancy Wahlig, director of Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Resources Center at the University of California San Diego.

“The key is to guide the victims step by step,” Wahlig said. “Everything from giving them a safe place to stay in and reporting the assault to the police, to accompanying them to court if the case goes that far.”

According to Wahlig, the main focus should be making students aware of these issues and have continual educational outreach efforts to make the problem a primary concern.

Despite SDSU’s effort to communicate these issues with events such as “Step-up” Bystander Intervention Workshop and sexual crime prevention presentations, most students remain uninformed about these efforts and are left to figure out a plan for themselves if something does occur.

“It’s never happened to me, so I have no idea what to do if it did,” international business senior Tricia Rowley said. “If it happened to me, I guess Student Services has something?”

According to Wahlig, student awareness is crucial for the diminishing of sexual assaults and the development of more capacitated services for students who deal with this issue.

“I really don’t know what options there are,” engineering freshman Victor Katkov said. “I assume we need to contact campus police.”

When comparing services and facilities offered by both UCSD and SDSU, the academic and budget systems function differently between the UC and California State University systems. Yet student organizations and faculty involvement should not be tied to the universities’ systems, according to Wahlig.

Brianna Cleaver, a psychology junior at UCSD, said she was aware of the SARC services and its history. But when asking various student organizations at the Advocacy Organization Center at SDSU about their neighbor student organization Survivor Outreach & Support, they were completely unaware of its existence and even failed to locate the room where the organization had its office.

“I am completely unaware of any help that can be offered to victims,” Rowley said. “And I personally have never heard of the SOS in the four years I’ve been here.”

From her work with female and male sexual assault victims, Wahlig said there is nothing more that can bring students and victims together than having a reliable resource center that serves as a powerful tool in the recovery process.