As many of you know February means V-Day! And no, we’re not talking about Valentine’s Day. V-Day is an organization that seeks to raise awareness about violence against women and girls as well as raise money for local beneficiaries that are working to end violence. Many student groups put on “The Vagina Monologues” or host other film screenings to raise money for their local domestic violence and rape crisis centers. We think it’s amazing to raise awareness about violence against women and sexual assault on campus, and we are here to offer ways to take your V-Day events further. When planning events, think of ways you can change policies on campus to make it safer for the students. Here are some questions to think about:
- How safe is your campus? Is there sufficient lighting?
- Are there emergency blue light towers on campus? Blue lights towers have emergency buttons that will connect you to 911 dispatch.
- Is there a free 24-hour student escort service?
- Does your college provide counseling services for survivors? Does your school have at least one full time staff person that works exclusively on sexual violence and education?
- Is emergency contraception available for rape survivors in school health centers?
If there is something missing on campus, fight for change! Demand more preventative measures and better response systems on campus! Next, do you know about your sexual assault policy on campus? Is it adequate? Check out the Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) website. Things to look for are: student input, accessibility, due process, fairness, clear language, oversight, prevention and education, crisis intervention, accessible and accurate reporting, amnesty, long term counseling, community involvement, and sexual assault response training. Some good examples of comprehensive sexual assault policies are: The College of Holy Cross, Spelman College, Lehigh University, and University of Michigan. If your sexual assault policy doesn’t make the cut, make sure you take action to change it! Set up meetings with the administration to discuss how to make the SA policies on campus more comprehensive.