Kate Vancil and the Residential Housing Association (RHA) hosted a sexual assault awareness forum on Wednesday, April 6th, 2016. The purpose of the event was to speak in groups on the sexual assaults that happen on campus. According to AAU Climate Survey, Carolina has a reported 12.9% of people who have experienced sexual assault or sexual misconduct with 50% happening in residential halls. With movies like The Hunting Ground coming out and more people getting behind the movement to reduce sexual assault, the RHA forum was just one way Carolina is putting sexual awareness at the forefront of social issues.
The forum featured several groups with different points of discussion. Participants brainstormed different ideas based on questions and topics given to them. Some of the questions included “what programming do you think can be done in the halls to bring awareness to these issues?,” “how would you suggest implementing resources?,” and “do you believe DHRE staff should have a large in providing resources?” There were a vast number of different answers for each question. Students thought that resources should include bulletin boards, bathroom flyers, anonymous reporting boxes, and posters in hallways. Overall, groups had a consensus that RAs and Community Directors need to be more active when it pertains to sexual assault. They want Community Directors to foster relationships with the residents so they feel safer reporting sexual assaults and supply their phone numbers to be more easily accessible. Students want more organized ways to know their available resources, such as putting out a flowchart of steps and the particular resources for that step. The groups also discussed ways to get information about resources and reporting out easier. They thought having mandatory meetings about would be the easiest way to spread information. They also considered that One Act, a skill training for sexual and interpersonal violence for Carolina students, explain bystander culture. Students also wanted an organized chart for available trainings for sexual assault and misconduct.
This event was a huge success and the ideas that came from it were thoughtful and should be implemented. The RHA should work harder to make sure that resources are available and information is being given to all individuals. Our reported sexual assault and misconduct percentage can be decreased if people are properly educated. Also, women and men should feel comfortable reporting sexual assaults and know they can trust the RAs and Community Director of their residents halls. Together, we can reduce sexual assault on campus!