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BG groups hope to open discussions on assault

With the sudden end to the Kobe Bryant case, the important issue of sexual assault has faded from the front pages and, in some cases, out of the consciousness of the general public.

However, a few groups on campus would like to make the issue of sexual assault a topic that students both male and female should concern themselves with everyday.

The Sexual Assault Information Network, and Men Educating Men in the Prevention of Sexual Assault developed out of the Coalition Against Sexual Offenses during the late 1990s. In a collaborated effort to end sexual assault on campus, the two groups attempt to raise student awareness through hour-long presentations to other campus groups and various classes on all different aspects that are involved in sexually-based offenses.

SAIN and MEMPSA started training of new members on Friday, and both groups are actively looking for new people to join.

Amanda Fry, a graduate assistant in charge of facilitating both groups, said their presentations on sexual assault starts with learning the basics.

“We talk about the terminology that goes with sexual assault because it is kind of confusing, then we try to educate the students on sexual assault,” she said.

That education includes talking about the role of alcohol in sexual assaults, dispelling myths and stereotypes generally held throughout society, and about the dangers of date-rape drugs.

The presentations also include role-playing scenarios and other interactive activities to get the audience to open up and express their feelings about the subject.

“We try to make the presentations fun, we try to make them interesting because you don’t want students to be bored,” Fry said. “Sometimes students hear the word rape or sexual assault and they don’t think it is something they can’t really talk about.”

Sexual assault is a major problem around the country, notably at college institutions. According to studies used by CASO, at least half of the female population who attend college will be apart of some kind of attempted or completed sexually-based offense at least once during their college experience. Furthermore, of the women who are victims of rape during their college career, 42 percent never tell anyone about the experience.

SAIN, open only to women, deals specifically with raising empowerment, educating and providing an awareness of the various resources available to women on campus that deal with the subject of sexual assault.

However, Barbara Hoffman, the Health Promotions Coordinator at the Wellness Connection, explained their need to create MEMPSA to inform the male audience on their role in preventing sexual assault.

“We decided on a different approach, because we felt we can give women all the education and awareness they can have, but that does not mean a sexual assault wouldn’t occur,” Hoffman said. “We felt we needed to address men on what they needed to do to not be a perpetrator, not to be a rapist. Addressing them with what they can do to stop that from ever happening.”

Both groups have been very active and will be involved in other major campus events this year, like a Mock Rape Trial in November, along with advocating many programs during AIDS Awareness Week in December.

While some of the new members stated that some kind of personal experience drove them to join the fight against sexual assault on campus, many also have become apart of these groups because they strongly believe in the cause.

This is something that Amanda Fry emphasized.

“These are great organizations to get involved with, even if sexual assault doesn’t affect you personally, it is still great to get out there and educate students and promote the awareness of sexual assault because it is such an important issue on campus.”

Any person interested in joining SAIN and MEMPSA or are interested in requesting a presentation, contact Amanda Fry at (419)372-0470 or by email at [email protected] Students also can get more information on both groups by visiting the website www.bgsu.edu/offices/sa/health/wellness/caso.html.

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