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University of Southern California Announces Initiative to Curb Sexual Violence

To better prevent sexual assault and relationship violence, the University of Southern California is expanding its training programs for students and hiring a prevention specialist.

The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services (RSVP), a division of USC Student Health, will expand its online training module “Think About It” to teach students about creating healthy relationships, obtaining consent and reporting incidents of sexual violence.

Additionally, the new prevention specialist will teach community members about resources available to victims and how to combat sexual assault and harassment.

“The goal is to put together a comprehensive curriculum that students and others will experience multiple times. They will learn about consent, being an active bystander and building healthy relationships,” Sarah Van Orman, associate vice provost for student affairs and chief student health officer, said.

“We want to create a campus where everyone feels safe and heard. Students should know RSVP is here to provide support if you have been victimized by any of these gender- or power-based experiences.”

The university plans to introduce the mandatory workshop on affirmative consent to 4,000 incoming first-year, graduate and transfer students in the fall. It is also currently testing a program called “Bringing in the Bystander,” which teaches participants how to respond after witnessing sexual or relationship violence, on a small pool of student leaders, faculty and staff members.

“We want to build a community where we all take care of each other and look out for each other,” Brenda Ingram, RSVP director and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, said.

“Most people want to do the right thing, but they need to know what the right thing to do is and feel confident that it will make a difference.”

Data provided by the first Association of American Universities (AAU) Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct in 2015 demonstrates how campus sexual violence has become a serious national issue.

In response, many colleges and universities across the nation have upped their efforts to curb incidents of sexual assault and harassment by introducing various initiatives and mandatory training programs for their community members. Earlier this month Dartmouth College rolled out a new Campus Climate and Culture Initiative, while Michigan State University launched the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program.

 

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