Violence, substance abuse prevalent in US

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by ANDREA LOPEZ, for The Muleskinner—
Every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).
According to Lighthouse Services, provided through the UCM Counseling Center, sexual assault is a broad term used to describe any unwanted, nonconsensual sexual contact gained with or without force. That can include rape, oral sex, anal sex, fondling, kissing and touching.
“Sexual assault is something that happens way more often than most people know,” said Kara Fox, a graduate assistant in the Office of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention.
According to RAINN, attempted rapes happen to one in six women and one in 33 men over their lifetime.
“With statistics like these, it’s an issue that does affect many people,” Fox said. “As a university we definitely want to address the problem to try to prevent it, but also to provide resources to survivors.”
Victims of sexual assault have many options to seek professional help on campus and in the surrounding areas.
One way is going to the Counseling Center. Located in Humphrey 131, it is a place where victims of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking can obtain helpful information, assistance and confidential support.
Other on campus resources include the Health Center, located on the corner of Clark and South College Street, as well as the VSAP office, located in the Administrative Building suite 102.
There are also documents available for download on the VSAP website that serve as guides for survivors of sexual assault.
There is even information for individuals who have friends that are survivors and are looking for a way to help.
As for alternatives outside the university, the Survival House Abuse Center of Warrensburg is an additional resource that is just minutes away from campus.
The Survival House provides support and shelter for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Participate in Denim Day 2013
Spreading awareness about sexual assault is on the rise and in a very fashionable way.  In 1992, after an 18-year-old girl in Italy was raped by her driving instructor, people protesting the incident wore jeans in support of the young woman. That movement spread a message that has turned into a global effort.
The sexual violence prevention and educational campaign, known as Denim Day, is Wednesday, April 24. Every April since 1999, Denim Day in the U.S. has continued to grow.
Their motto stands is “Make a social statement with your fashion statement, wear jeans with a purpose.”
The VSAP office at UCM is promoting this event in hopes of it becoming a campus-wide effort. VSAP is asking for $2 donations from students and faculty to wear jeans on April 24. Participants will be given a Denim Day pin to wear with their jeans.
Marijuana- what’s the deal?
According to a 2011 report conducted by the UCM VSAP office, 78 percent of UCM students had not used marijuana within that prior year.
While the percentages may seem low for marijuana users on campus, on a broader scale, it is much higher outside city limits.
As reported by a recent government survey, over 83 million Americans over the age of 12 have tried marijuana at least once.
Marijuana is known to be the most abused illegal drug in the U.S. One major problem behind the use of marijuana is that a user can become addicted or dependent on it. Statistics also show that more than half of illicit drug users began with marijuana.
Marijuana is illegal and penalties for possession of the drug can be hefty. In the state of Missouri if an individual is convicted of marijuana possession with under 35 grams on hand, it is considered a Class A misdemeanor.
The consequence is up to a year in jail along with a fine of $1,000. On the other hand, if someone is in possession of more than 35 grams of marijuana, it is considered a felony and the person is punishable by up to seven years in jail with a $5,000 fine.
Seeking to be Tobacco-free?
Free help is available on campus for students and employees of UCM who chew, dip or smoke.
Through the VSAP office, UCM offers assistance for individuals moving forward toward a tobacco-free lifestyle.
The tobacco-free program offered includes up to four meetings with a trained coach, a personalized quit plan, free nicotine replacement (patches, gum or lozenges) and free follow up support.
Throughout mid-April into early May, displays will be presented for individuals to learn more about sexual assault as well as marijuana usage.
For more info regarding sexual assault awareness and Denim Day, please contact Kara Fox at [email protected] or visit ucmo.edu/VSAP.