Gallaudet University Takes Steps to Combat Sexual Assault on Campus

 Christine Gannon, director of Health and Wellness Programs a Gallaudet was one of eleven universities in America to be selected for a visit from a group of Justice Department Officials, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole; Principal Deputy Director, Office on Violence Against Women, Bea Hanson; and Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, Becky Monroe. The group met with Gallaudet University's administrators about their strategy in prevention, increasing public awareness, and addressing peer support.

"To be recognized for making strides is great because it is a very difficult issue to confront," said Gallaudet, who attended the meeting with Cole. (Gallaudet University News)

Since 2012, there have been several organizations established to raise awareness about Sexual Assault including the Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART). With a 300,000 dollar grant supporting the efforts behind raising sexual assault awareness, SART programs have been able to implement several initiatives. One critical initiative that has been implemented to reduce incidences of assault across campus is called, "Green Dot". It is essentially a bystander intervention program funded by this very grant.

With programs such as Green Dot, the objective is to increase willingness and ability to recognize and intervene at times of sexual assault. With this program in place, there are training sessions that are required to help students become more aware and be trained to become Green Dot ambassadors.

"We hope to continue to have at least two or three trainings per semester with the goal of getting 500 people trained by the end of the 2015-2016 academic school year," added Gannon.

Since these programs are supported by studies done by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism focused on alcohol and sexual assault being somewhat interdependent, students are being encouraged not to participate in alcohol based activities. There are also organizations such as Student Center Programs and Services (SCPS) that are working on bringing more non-alcoholic orientated events.

They went as far as planning Rockfest (an bi-annual hosted event at Gallaudet) with the focus being dry.

"In its education efforts, Gallaudet focuses also on sharing personal stories of sexual assault survivors to promote awareness and healing. Last October, during Domestic Violence Awareness month, Marilyn Smith, '74 & G-'77, founder of Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services (ADWAS) presented "The Anti-Violence and Sexual Violence Movement in Deaf America 1986-2013" as part of the Sesquicentennial Lecture Series. Also that month, Patricia Lupson, who lost her daughter and two grandsons to domestic violence, shared her experiences with the Gallaudet community." (Gallaudet News)