By GABRIEL COHN
One Student, a sexual violence prevention organization, has started a new chapter at the University of Tampa in the second year of their partnership with the school.
One Student put together a research-based, student-led and staff-supported approach to engaging college campuses in culture change and focused on UT as being one of the colleges to lead the charge.
During the first year of One Student’s partnership with UT, a climate survey was conducted to study college students’ behaviors and knowledge on the important and serious issue of sexual violence.
About 90 percent of students say they can tell when someone is too intoxicated to give consent, according to One Student’s climate survey conducted this past April. However, in reality, a majority of those students are actually unaware of the point of intoxication where consent cannot be given.
One Student’s main goal is to change students’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding sex, respect, consent and sexual assault. One Student wants to create a “culture of consent” at universities across the nation and create an environment where victims can feel comfortable coming forward to get the help they so desperately need.
Dr. Kathryn Branch, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at UTampa, has been a part of One Student since its founding in 2010. Branch has done various research regarding campus sexual violence and how victims are not seeking the right help.
“Most victims don’t report victimization,” Branch said. “They instead seek their friends or faculty members for help. These friends and faculty members are not all properly trained, so they are unable to fully help students that are victims of sexual violence”.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s study on sexual assault on college campuses, 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault. Based on this information, victims are not seeking the correct help or reporting their incidents to the proper authorities.
One Student wants to educate students and faculty members on the parameters of sexual violence so that more people can help victims of sexual assault. The organization aims to accomplish this goal by applying bystander education, training and multi-media education platforms.
Branch is excited about the good that One Student can do and knows how important this issue is across the nation.
“Crime has ripple effects,” Branch said. “One in four female students are victims of sexual violence, which means that everyone knows someone who has been affected. I’m excited about educating people about this issue. Education about sexual violence will give students the knowledge of the parameters of consent and victims would then have a community of friends and faculty that they can go to for help.”
One Student believes that if more students are educated on sexual violence then some of the gray area of consent can be wiped away and encourage more people to talk about sexual abuse.
Cristina Muyshondt, a UT diplomat, Student Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion, and member of the One Student chapter, looks forward to being one of the students that leads UT toward a culture of consent.
“My goal is to help change the culture of our campus,” Muyshondt said. “I want to raise awareness about sexual assault and teach students to communicate so they can have healthy and successful relationships.”
One Student wants campus-wide change and enlightenment of the seriousness of this pressing campus issue by the end of this second year of their partnership with UT.
For more information on One Student and their chapter here at UT, contact Monnie Wertz, Assistant to the Vice President of Operations and Planning. Students that are victims of sexual violence can call the confidential victim advocacy hotline at (813)257-3900 or go to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay to get help.
Gabriel Cohn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org