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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA groups fight sexual assault

    Campus groups are working to increase awareness of sexual assault and domestic violence through new programs and workshops aimed at both genders as part of Domestic Violence Month.

    Campus Health Service’s Oasis program has been working to create a new group called Men Against Violence, which will work with men on campus to promote sexual assault prevention, said Zachary Nicolazzo, Oasis violence prevention specialist.

    Focusing violence prevention efforts on the male population is a shift that can be seen in literature from the mid-1980s on, Nicolazzo said.

    “”I think that

    The more people that are involved and the more awareness that’s out there, the better off we’re going to be. Violence prevention is everyone’s business.

    -Zachary Nicolazzo,
    OASIS violence prevention specialist

    we’re seeing kind of a proliferation of similar groups on campuses around the country because there’s then a shift from just looking at risk-reduction efforts,”” Nicholazzo said. “”There’s been a shift … to also doing primary prevention, which means working with potential perpetrators to say here’s how we can prevent violence. It kind of broadens the scope of that message.””

    Men Against Violence remains a work in progress, as Oasis is generating interest to create the group for next semester.

    “”I’m really looking for men who are interested in learning more about ending violence and are looking to actually do some proactive and practical hands-on stuff on campus,”” Nicholazzo said.

    Along the same lines, the Greek Life Health Advocate Program is a collaboration between the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Programs and Campus Health Service that began three years ago, Johanne Jensen, coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Programs, wrote in an e-mail interview.

    At least once a month, chapters send a representative to a health-related workshop. These representatives, or health advocates, can educate other members of their organization about health-related issues, Jensen wrote.

    The program has covered sexual violence in the past with workshops on domestic and dating violence. This month’s topic is relationship violence and sexual assault in the fraternity and sorority communities, Jensen wrote.

    Greek Life chapters that are members of the Interfraternity Council or the Panhellenic Council are required to participate in the Greek Life Health Advocate Program, Jensen wrote.

    In addition to partnering with fraternities and sororities, Oasis is partnering with ASUA’s Women’s Resource Center to offer free rape-aggression defense classes this month, said Carly Thomsen, the center’s director.

    The classes are offered for free because of a grant from the UA Parents and Family Association. Space is available for 23 students, Thomsen said.

    The 12-hour curriculum is for women only and focuses on awareness, prevention, risk-reduction and empowerment,
    Thomsen said.

    Similarly, the Women’s Resource Center is handing out cards on the UA Mall that contain information on how to help those who have been sexually assaulted, what to do if you have been sexually assaulted and prevention tips, Thomsen said. The cards are provided by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

    “”If a self-defense class or handing these cards out can possibly prevent (a sexual assault), or maybe more importantly help survivors deal with it, then I think it can only be beneficial for the UA community,”” Thomsen said.

    There were two reported sexual assaults on the UA campus in 2006 and two in 2005, according to University of Arizona Police
    Department statistics.

    In 2004-2005, there were an annual average of 200,780 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault, according to RAINN.

    “”The more people that are involved and the more awareness that’s out there, the better off we’re going to be,”” Nicholazzo said. “”Violence prevention is everyone’s business.””

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