Eastern Fails at Addressing Sexual Assault

Danielle Romanelli   Assistant Editor

For any returning students, there was a past obligation to complete “Safe Haven,” a sexual assault prevention program for undergraduate students. This year, a new program was introduced called “Not Anymore,” which labels itself as an “online interpersonal violence prevention program from Student Success.” While I believe Eastern had good intentions introducing this new program in place of “Safe Haven,” I also think that they made a crucial error in doing so. I feel this program has substantial flaws that need to be corrected in order to get the information across to college students more productively.

The first problem I had when completing this program was how easy it was to not pay attention.

The program consisted of long videos lasting more than fifteen minutes that were not visually stimulating. Although the information was important, conveying it in this way makes it too easy for students to do other things while watching the videos, such as homework or games. The creators may fight against this claim by saying something like, “You need to watch the videos, as at the end there is a quiz that you need to get 100% on to complete the program.” However, you can take this quiz as many times as you would like, so it is very achievable to take the quiz without paying any attention to the issue.

Another problem I had while completing this program were the techniques they brought up to “fight back” when being pressured to do something you do not wish to do. The only technique they emphasized was “making an excuse to get out of it.” A prime example would be saying something like, “My mom is calling me.” Although this method may work for some people, many perpetrators in a sexual assault situation will not care if there is an excuse, and stating one may cause them to become more violent and forceful. I think it would have been better to emphasize physical moves a victim could use to get out of situations, as these moves would be better during a forced attack.

Finally, a third problem I had while completing this program was how triggering and graphic the stories were. I understand the point of the program was to emphasize sexual assault and its pervasiveness, so examples are necessary to show the seriousness of the topic. Then again, the stories had the potential to be extremely triggering for viewers. Also, the “trigger warning” that was put into the video was very vague. If you were to not watch those clips, it meant you were not watching over half of the video, and there was no audible signal to show the warning was over.

Overall, I am disappointed that Eastern continues to educate about an extremely important problem in such a useless way. Better alternatives would be mandated hall meetings that had professionals to talk and answer questions, or programs on campus that all students had to attend. This topic is too important to put into a video where students can ignore it.

Campus Lantern
The Campus Lantern is the school newspaper at Eastern Connecticut State University. The Lantern is run by students, for students and reports on everything hppening around campus. We publish every other week. The Lantern has been in publication since 1945.

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