Sexual assault talk hosted by It’s On Us at St. Edward’s University (Draft 2)

 

Audience members crowded into the Jones Auditorium at St. Edward’s University on Oct. 3 to listen to a lecture about sexual violence education and prevention.

 

The event was the third lecture in a four-part series prepared by the university’s chapter of It’s On Us, a national movement launched to end sexual assault, and comes at a time when sexual violence cases are appearing more rampantly on college campuses across the nation. Women in college are three times more likely to experience sexual violence than the other age demographics of women, according to information from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

 

The talk was lead by Delia Kothmann Paskos, an associate professor of psychology at St. Edward’s University. Paskos lead by saying that every woman in the room will either be sexually assaulted themselves or have a direct relationship with someone who has been a survivor of sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. I’m also unsure of where she got the quote from she would be the only one to attribute. Paskos emphasized how important it was for students attending college in Texas to be aware of this information. In the spring of this year the Texas Senate ok’d a bill need to find the bill name

 

 

“Texas law now says that we need evidence,” said Paskos. “Evidence from a crime that does not leave any.”

 

Seventy-two percent of assaults are committed by people who know the victim personally, according to a survey done by the United States Department of Justice. Paskos made it known that perpetrators of assaults are most likely not the shifty characters that parents warned about.

 

“They are the captains of the football team and the ones you don’t expect,” said Paskos.

 

The majority of the statistics leaned towards information on heterosexual relationships. Paskos said that she is aware that non-heterosexual assaults do occur, but right now the literature does not yield a great deal of statistical analysis on that subject. She also said she hoped one day members of the audience can help make sure that information is one day known to the public as well.

 

Paskos led the audience through an interactive segment of the talk where audience members listened to a 911 call received from a woman who said that she had been hog-tied, gagged, sexually assaulted, and needed the police. Paskos used this call to show how difficult it is to identify victims. Audience members found the woman in the call to be slightly unreliable and questioned if she was telling the truth. In the end Paskos revealed that the call was real.

 

“False reports are extremely rare to get, which is why we need to believe our victims 100 percent of the time first,” said Paskos.

 

Paskos finished her lecture with prevention. She specifically called out women in the audience for this part. She wanted them to know how important it was for them to have situational awareness of their surroundings at all times and take precautions to keep that awareness. Precautions could include not walking late at night alone, minimizing alcohol consumption, and taking self defense classes.

 

“Biologically women are smaller than men,” Paskos said. “This is just a fact.”

 

Women are left to come up with creative ways to fiend off attacks from predators. Paskos left the audience with a plug for the final installment of the series happening the following week where participants would have hand on training in self defense techniques from a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor.

 

Many audience members lingered after the lecture to ask Paskos questions about how to join the cause. Others gathered in the foyer of the auditorium to talk to members of the It’s On Us group. Aaron Kennard, a member, talked of his pleasant feelings following the lecture.

 

“I am happy with the positive reception that this event received from the audience,” Kennard said. “The lecture last week left audience members feeling uneasy about the series, so I am glad things turned out as they did.”

 

St. Edward’s University has taken a step in the right direction to inform the public on multiple aspects of sexual assault. Many college campuses continue to struggle with education and prevention of the subject, simply sweeping it under the rug in order to hide from the intricacies of the situation. Sexual assault cases will continue to appear, and many more will go unreported; with rapists left to walk the streets and assault again. Talks such as the ones presented by It’s On Us can begin the conversation needed to spark a national change in the way sexual assault is handled.

It’s On Us hosts sexual assault talk at St. Edward’s University (Draft 1)
Audience members gathered in the Jones Auditorium on at St. Edward’s University’s campus to listen to Delia Kothmann Paskos, an associate professor of psychology at the school, lecture on about sexual violence education and prevention. The event is the third lecture in a four-part series prepared by Paskos and the university’s chapter of It’s On Us and comes at a time in the country when sexual violence is a rampant issue on almost all college campuses across the nation. At the beginning of the talk, Paskos leads by saying that everyone in the room will either be sexually assaulted themselves or have a direct relationship with someone who has been a survivor of sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.
Paskos has to quiet a buzzing audience, busy murmuring at the inconceivable nature of that fact. She bluntly informs them on why this is especially important to university students in Texas. “Texas law now says that we need evidence,” Paskos says. “Evidence from a crime that does not leave any.” Now that the audience was aware of how severe the problem really was, they turned their eyes on Paskos ready to hear what she had to say. The first things on Paskos’ agenda was to identify who a victim actually was and who the perpetrators were. 95 percent of assaults are committed by people who know the victim personally. “They are the captains of the football team and the ones you don’t expect,” says Paskos. She also makes it known that she is aware that non-heterosexual sexual assaults do occur, but right now the literature does not yield a lot of statistical analysis on that subject. Paskos smiles and says that she hopes one day members of the audience can help make sure that information is one day known to the public as well. She then leads the audience to identifying the victim and how hard this is to do. She plays a 911 call from a woman who is informing the operator that she has been hog-tied, sexually assaulted, and needs help. After the call is played, Paskos opens up to the audience to explain how they feel after hearing the call. The audience throws out that they do not know whether the call is real or not because of the inconsistencies in the caller’s story and demeanor. Paskos then plays the second part of the clip where the survivor explains the situation that she was in when she made the 911 phone call. The call was a real cry for help. This example reminds the audience that they need to believe the victim 100 percent of the time first. False reports are extremely rare to get.
The final segment of Paskos’ lecture is on prevention. She specifically wants to call out the women in the audience. She wants them to know how important it is for them to have situational awareness of their surroundings at all times and take precautions such as not consuming too much alcohol or self defense classes. Biologically women are smaller than men, this is just a fact, Paskos says.This leaves women to come up with contemporary ways to protect themselves against their attackers. Paskos then begins to plug the final installment of the series happening the next week where participants will have hands on training in self defense techniques from a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor. Paskos finishes by thanking the audience and tells them that she hopes to see them the following week ready to practice some skills.
After the talk, many audience members wait next to Paskos eager to ask more questions on what they can do to help the cause and how they can join It’s On Us. Other people also gather in the foyer of the auditorium to talk to the president of the chapter, Alma Baker, and other members of the group. Aaron Kennard, a member of It’s On Us, talks of his pleasant feelings following the lecture. “I am happy with the positive reception that this event received from the audience,” Kennard says. “The lecture last week left audience members feeling uneasy about the series, so I am glad things turned out as they did.”
St. Edward’s University is taking a step in the right direction in informing the public on multiple aspects of sexual assault. Many college campuses continue to struggle with education and prevention of the subject. Many sweep it under the rug in order to not have to deal with the intricacies of the situation. Sexual assault cases pop up daily, but there are many more that go unreported; with rapists left to walk to streets and assault again. Having talks such as the ones done by It’s On Us can begin the conversation needed to spark a national change in the way we handle sexual assault.