TTU raising awareness about sexual assault, support for survivors

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas Tech University is raising awareness about sexual assault and resources for survivors. It’s joining people and organizations across the globe in recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

On the Texas Tech campus, Red Raiders have reported 32 instances of sexual assault since August, according to the university’s crime log. That count includes sexual assault, rape, fondling, or forcible fondling.  

“Any sexual assault is, one sexual assault is one too many,” Texas Tech Police Chief Kyle K. Bonath said.

In October, the university launched a public safety campaign called Raider Safety. Part of that initiative includes notifying Red Raiders when sexual assault is reported, to increase communication about crime and comply with the Clery Act.  

“It’s not any more prevalent, I know there’s been a lot more media coverage and some things we are doing on campus to draw attention to it, so people can be safer. But, if you look at our Annual Security Report, which is required by Clery, the numbers really haven’t, there’s not been a significant change,” Bonath said.

Bonath says more often now, they are getting reports of people being sexually assaulted by someone they have met online or know. It’s more you know somebody you meet, somebody you know.

“One of the things I’d say is just to be careful online, and I know it’s a lot more prevalent in the generations today but there are a lot more people taking advantage of that situation,” Bonath said.

Texas Tech’s RISE organization, which stands for Risk Intervention and Safety Education is the university’s prevention and wellness hub. Haley Wallace, program manager of communications, says part of the officer’s job is to educate Red Raiders on sexual health and consent and bystander intervention.

“Victims deal with feelings of guilt or shame and so that’s really a tough situation for them. And we want to be there to support them for it, so whether it’s through RISE or Title IX or the office of Sexual Misconduct we want to make sure that these students get the help that they need and the resources that they might need to succeed in the future,” she said.

RISE is hosting events all throughout Sexual Assault Awareness Month. One is the “Clothesline Project,” where Red Raiders can write words of encouragement for survivors on t-shirts hung up on several displays throughout the dorms. Taking back the night empowers survivors by letting them share their stories.

“It’s basically just building a safe community or a safe space for them to dismantle their own misconceptions that other people might have about their specific assault or share words of encouragement or whatever that might be. And so it’s kind of like giving agency back to those survivors and taking the night back into their own hands,” Wallace said.

Chief Bonath says there’s no such thing as a bad call to the police department, so if you feel you’ve been sexually assaulted, call.

“We’ll get you all the help you need here on campus. There’s a lot of resources for anybody that is sexually assaulted, and whether it be the police department, Title IX any of those entities, we will work with them to get justice and appropriate punishment for whatever has occurred,” he said.

One awareness event everyone can take part in is Denim Day.

“It focuses on a survivor of sexual assault who was told that her jeans were too tight. And so, it must have been consent, because she must have had to take them off herself because somebody couldn’t be able to get them off without help. And so obviously, this sparked outrage. But, myths like that still occur in our day-to-day life where people as what are you wearing? Or there’s a lot of victim shaming that goes on,” Wallace said.

You can wear denim for Denim Day on April 27 to support sexual assault survivors.

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