| The State Press
"Campus organizations at ASU have been sparked to be more proactive about sexual assault prevention." Illustration published on Nov. 28, 2018.
Reports of former ASU student Matthew Green launching a $4.1 million suit against the University and ABOR for his expulsion over his alleged sexual assault of another student show that the administration's handling of sexual assault cases is a hotly disputed topic.
The University's reporting and investigation processes are built to deal with allegations after the fact, rather than at the root cause of the problem.
That's why two ASU organizations, the Sun Devil Movement for Violence Prevention and Devils in the Bedroom, aim to promote safe and healthy sex on the preventative and educational levels.
Every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). RAINN said that one in every six American women falls victim to “attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.”
Chicago Says No More, an outlet that addresses the challenges of sexual assault and domestic violence in the Chicago metro-area, stated that 19 in 20 cases of sexual assault on college campuses go unreported. In the ASU Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, the University breaks down cases of sexual violence, such as rape, statutory rape, fondling, aggravated assault, domestic violence and dating violence by campus.
“People are becoming very aware that violence exists, and that is super important, but (also) really scary and daunting to know,” said Rachel Kuntz, a junior philosophy and justice studies major.
Kuntz serves as the coordinator for the Sun Devil Movement for Violence Prevention and the director of programming for Devils in the Bedroom. Both campus organizations start conversations about sexual violence and sexual health among students.
SDMVP’s goal is to unite students to end sexual violence on campus, including relationship violence. The movement hosts a coalition where students can learn about the prevention of sexual and relationship violence, as well as how to incorporate the information they learn within their communities in a relatable way. The coalition also helps plan ASU’s sexual assault awareness month in April and domestic violence awareness month in October.
Kuntz said that although SDMVP targets University clubs with ties to violence prevention, she wants to encourage other organizations to participate in its training as well, as she believes this is an issue that affects every community.
“Even if you’re not an expert in sexual violence prevention, that’s okay, you’re an expert in your community, and what your community is going to be interested in and what members of your organization are going to need,” Kuntz said. "We can provide the expertise on sexual violence prevention."
Rachael Mowry, a kinesiology junior, said she joined SDMVP after learning about how sexual violence impacts a person’s life and wanting to see a difference.
“I realized that it was a big issue, and the more I get involved, the more I learn how many aspects of one person’s life it may affect, and how it can manifest itself in different ways,” Mowry said.
Mowry takes the lead in furthering the impact of SDMVP by aiding in its reach to the Downtown Phoenix campus. She claims that due to public health majors and clubs being offered downtown, the movement is especially prevalent.
“I want to make as many people as possible aware of how big an issue violence is," Mowry said. "To be aware of how to help others ... can be really powerful to give people those resources so they can live the best lives they can.”
Devils in the Bedroom, another organization on campus, focuses more on sexual health and sexual violence than prevention. The club’s mission is to ensure students are having positive sexual experiences while teaching consent and communication.
These clubs work together to bring about sexual assault awareness and make sure students and teachers alike know what the issue is and how to prevent it.
"We believe (these clubs) are very intertwined," said Kuntz. "We believe that we can’t have a truly sexual healthy community when violence is happening, and students can’t have positive sexual experiences if they don’t understand things like consent and communication and healthy boundaries."
With organizations such as SDMVP and Devils in the Bedroom, ASU students have a resource to learn what constitutes healthy, safe sex.
“We want students to know that they don't just have to live with knowing that this horrible thing is happening," Kuntz said, "And that when we all act as a community we can really take action to prevent these acts of violence and empower, show love and support members of our community."
Reach the reporter at [email protected] and follow @gannonmikenna on Twitter.
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