Students Shine a Light on Sexual Assault

Criminal Justice Course Makes Social Change

  April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month and in order to spread the word students have been holding public events on campus. 

  Criminal justice students held an exhibition April 4 through 7 at the Multicultural Center in the Union entitled “What Were You Wearing”. The exhibition’s purpose was to dispel the myth that clothing choice invites sexual assault.

  Another group of students went to local bars encouraging support of the owners and employees to raise awareness of the angel shot. The angel shot is a way for bar-goers to discreetly ask for help, or communicate that they are in an unsafe situation, without raising suspension. They talked to staff about the shot and hung up posters in women’s bathrooms explaining the meanings. 

 A third group of students interviewed multiple law enforcement agencies to learn more about the process of investigation of sex crimes.  

  These projects were part of the criminal justice course, Sexual Assault and the Criminal Justice System, taught by Betsy Kreisel, a criminal justice faculty member and associate dean for the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies.

  Kreisel said she had the students of this upper-level course create a social impact project relating to sexual assault prevention and awareness.  

  “It all fell together perfectly in terms of allowing students as part of their class assignments to develop projects that have objectives and criteria,” Kreisel said. “These students wanted to do a public service campaign to debunk myths of sexual assault and make statements of awareness  to advocate for survivors.”

  On April 12 five students from the class held an event entitled “Shine a Light on Sexual Assault” where they debunked myths about

sexual assault and harassment, as well as gave survivors a space to speak. 

  Lovie Smith, a student in the Sexual Assault and the Criminal Justice Sysytem class who helped organize the event, read out quotes from a

nonymous students who had been sexually assaulted but did not report it. 

  “These are real reasons as to why a lot of the time sexual assault cases are not spoken on or reported,” Smith said. “Especially rape cases, there are so many rape cases that do not go reported because of these reasons.” 

  “You never know who this could happen to,” Smith said. “It could be the most bubbly personality or the quietest person in the room. This could happen to anybody and everybody.” 

  The theme for this year’s awareness month is “Drawing Connections: Prevention Demands Equity” according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. The facts presented at the event presented both men and women as victims and survivors of assault and harassment.       

  Smith said commonly it is only the women who are shown to be abused and assaulted in the media. 

  “This can happen to men too,” Smith said. “This could happen to anybody of any gender and we don’t speak on this enough, and that’s a sad thing.”

  “The most important thing is to speak up, keep your support system around and try to get your justice,” UCM freshman Natalie Morris said.

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  • The “Shine a Light” event on April 12 provided a voice for victims and addressed myths about sexual assault. The event was organized by Rhyan Haynes, Lovie Smith, Kristen Lowe, Andrea Trudell and Michaela Hines.

  • Betsy Kreisel, a criminal justice faculty member and associate dean for the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, takes a moment of silence at the “Shine a Light” event.

  • Survivors of sexual assault were able to share their voices through anonymous signs and quotes that were read out at the “Shine a Light” event.

  • The crowd stood silent for one minute during the “Shine a Light” event to honor those who are survivors of sexual assault.