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How local advocates are trying to stop sexual abuse on college campuses

Posted at 6:57 PM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-27 21:57:54-04

Last year, Cal Poly’s Title IX administrators received 76 reports of sexual misconduct.

Of those, 23 cases were investigated. In 12 cases, someone was held responsible for their actions.

Administrators say there was ‘too little information’ for a full investigation in the rest of the cases.

New students say it’s a reality they’re aware of.

“I was definitely nervous coming to college and just having it in the back of my mind,” said Alexis Huynh, a Cal Poly freshman.

“I think there’s so much awareness around it that people know what to look for and most women I know carry pepper spray with them,” said Julia Griesback, also a Cal Poly freshman.

With the high number of sexual assault reports across college campuses, California enacted a “Yes Means Yes” law, outlining the set of parameters for consent.

“Both parties have to be enthusiastic, there has to be a ‘yes’, so you’re looking for verbal and non-verbal cues. The person can take away their ‘yes’ at any moment that they want, and saying ‘yes’ to one act doesn’t mean ‘yes’ to everything. The person who is initiating the sexual act is in the position to have to make sure they’re the one asking,” said Christina Kaviani, Associate Director of Stand Strong in San Luis Obispo.

On campus, Cal Poly also has a Safer program for confidential advocacy and education.

“Education is the biggest preventative tool. If you’re aware of something then you’re less likely to become a victim, and that’s research-based,” Kaviani said.

The university also offers educational programs to students during orientation week.

Stand Strong is hosting an educational workshop on Monday, Oct. 15, called “Men and #MeToo: Possibilities and Perils in a Time of Change.” The keynote speaker is Jackson Katz, Ph.D.

Both events are free, but registration is required in advance.

Victims of sexual abuse are encouraged to reach out to RISE or Stand Strong.