March 23, 2010
For more information contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, (812) 349-2670
Prosecutors Office Steps Up Prevention Efforts
For Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Bloomington, Indiana These arent your usual sexual assault prevention tips:
When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, dont assault them!
Dont forget, you cant have sex with someone unless they are awake.
Remember, if someone goes to sleep after a night of partying, let them be! Do not assault them.
These attention-getting slogans are currently being displayed on table tents in dorm cafeterias and in other areas around the Indiana University campus. They put a new twist on the usual prevention message by not just urging caution for potential student victims, but also targeting potential perpetrators. In addition, they help publicize a series of educational events sponsored by the Office of Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal entitled Blame It On The Alcohol? The Truths, Myths and Laws of Sexual Assault.
The educational programs were developed in collaboration with IU School of Social Work students, peer-educators Raising Awareness in Sexual Encounters (RAISE), IU Womens Student Association, IU Panhellenic Association, Safe Sisters, and IU Sexual Assault Crisis Service.
Drawing on a contemporary pop song for their title, the presentations will explore common misconceptions and realities about sexual assault using illustrations from the media as a springboard for discussion. An interactive performance by RAISE will be followed by a legal discussion led by sex crimes deputy prosecutor Rebecca Veidlinger.
Information from the U.S. Department of Justice shows that as many as one in five women will be sexually assaulted during their college years. Other data indicates that as many as 43% of college-aged men admit to using coercive behavior to obtain sex, including ignoring a womans protest, using physical aggression, and forcing intercourse.
Clearly there is a problem on college campuses around the country, and we need to work together and do more to raise awareness and prevent sexual assault, says Debbie Melloan, a counselor with the IU Sexual Assault Crisis Service.
We strongly support these education initiatives, agrees IUPD interim chief Jerry Minger. Prevention has to be part of the strategy.
Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal organized a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and developed a new protocol to better coordinate the communitys response to sexual assaults. The SART includes representatives from law enforcement, victims advocates, health care providers, and from the university.
Central to the SART is a new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at Bloomington Hospital that provides forensic medical exams by specially trained nurses for sexual assault victims. Since the program was publicly announced in September of 2009, the number of sexual assault exams performed at Bloomington Hospital has doubled.
We want students to understand what consent to sex means, says Gaal. What consent is, and what it is not, and that sex without consent is a crime.
To that end Gaal created a public education campaign with a poster showing a falling line of dominos and emphasizing the message Got Consent? Ask and Only Yes Means Yes. During April the poster will be placed inside the entire fleet of IU buses, and a similar public service announcement featuring student voices will air on both radio and television. (Audio/Video above.)
The Got Consent? image will also be distributed on wallet-sized cards listing emergency contact information that explains how victims of sexual assault can get help. The cards instruct victims to call 911 if they are in danger or to report a crime. It also lists telephone numbers for the Indiana University Sexual Assault Crisis Service and Middle Way House hotlines. The card further explains how to obtain a sexual assault exam from a nurse at the Bloomington Hospital Emergency Department.
The Blame It On The Alcohol program will take place at various campus locations, and on Thursday, March 25 at the Monroe County Library at 5:30 pm. For more information contact the Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney at (812) 349-2670.
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