If you are interested in continuing as a student at Fresno State, you have until March 20 to complete Haven, a mandatory training module on sexual assault and relationship violence.
If you don’t take the required training module, your records will be held, and you won’t be allowed to register for classes. But don’t fret, students, Fresno State staff are taking it, as well.
While some students have complained that they are being forced to take an hour-long online course that they don’t need, the reality is most students don’t have an understanding of how real sexual assault is, and that it does happen on this campus whether they’re aware of it or not.
For instance, one in five women are a victim of rape or other sexual assault. Look around and apply that number to real life. That statistic is disturbing.
What’s worse, 90 percent of women know their attacker. He isn’t some stranger lurking in the dark. He is an acquaintance; he is a friend – even a boyfriend.
Instead of complaining about how the school is making you learn things, perhaps you should take the opportunity to try and better yourself. The kind of knowledge the school is trying to impart on you is valuable, even if you don’t think it has anything to do with you, or that you might know it already. Plus, it never hurts to have a refresher.
Yes, it does take around 45 minutes to an hour to complete. But you have until March 20 to find that hour.
Men aren’t immune to sexual assault. One in 19 has been stalked, and one in 33 has been raped. So the information Haven has is relevant to men, not only as bystanders, but as victims of crime as well.
Gentlemen: don’t think it’s going to happen to you, so you’re unconcerned? Well, what if it happens to a good friend of yours? How will you respond if they choose to confide in you? Will you become visibly angry, or will you sit and listen calmly?
Graphic from Haven
The information has many values. On top of knowing the general statistics behind sexual assault, you also gain some ideas on how you can help prevent sexual assault if you see warning signs at a party.
Do you know what the number one rape drug is? No, it isn’t roofies. In fact, it’s alcohol. Using alcohol to induce a “yes” to having sex is not an affirmative consent, and you’ve just utilized drugs to get someone to have sex with you – whether or not you gave them the alcohol.
Simply being aware that you could unknowingly be committing a crime could stop you from doing so. Some people don’t realize that a drunk “yes” is not a “yes.” It also helps you realize when someone is being preyed upon. And if you see it, other people do it, it only takes one person to act to change the course of events.
Where do college students generally feel the most safe? Probably in their home, dorm or other residence. In 60 percent of cases, assaults happen in the victim’s residence hall. That statistic isn’t meant to scare anyone. It’s a fact that everyone should know, so they’re always alert and aware of their surroundings.
The course goes into another area that is an even more common sight: relationship violence.
Not that we all witness relationship violence every day, but we can definitely see the signs if we are paying closer attention to our friends around us.
Signs of an abusive relationship include a person constantly having to report where they are and who they’re with, being constantly put down, jealousy or rage, and threats that they will commit suicide if you leave. If these things are happening in public, imagine what happens when no one is around.
Haven demonstrates a couple of situations and asks what you would do, even if your response is that you are too afraid to act.
While I feel that every student should have to take a full course on race and gender at some point, this mandatory online training is a good first step in helping students understand that these things happen all the time, and many assaults can be prevented.
Less than half of victims report their attack for fear that they will not be believed or that the attack itself will stigmatize them. If victims had someone to confide in that would listen to, support and encourage them, perhaps that would change.
All of the facts and statistics in this article can be found within the Haven training module at my.fresnostate.edu under Student Self Service.