Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sexual Assaults on U of M's campus

In the past week, there have been three sexual assaults on campus. While we know that most of campus shuts down during the summer, those of us here at SAPAC are available whenever you need us. If you've been assaulted, now or at any other time, please feel free to come in or call our 24/7 hotline and take advantage of our support. Though the blog has been slightly inactive (despite my protestations to the contrary), trained staff are always here to help you in any way you require.

For everyone else, please be aware of your surroundings. I'm not just talking about the common things like not walking alone, etc, but instead keep an eye out for anyone who needs your help. We put all the onus on the victims of crimes, but never mention how many people could have stepped in or, at the very least, called for help. If you see a freshman here for orientation wandering around looking lost, please just ask if they need anything. The worst that could happen is that they say they're fine, am I right?

I'm personally highly disturbed because the first assault happened right across the street from my apartment. I can see the spot from my bedroom window. I wish that I had known what was happening, so that I could have been a proactive bystander, just like I'm asking you to do.

Stop by our offices sometime.


  1. Can you post some resources that explain "proactive bystander?" I'm not sure everyone knows what this term means or how they can take part in it. THANKS!

  2. There are some real steps that you can take to help prevent sexual assault.

    First and foremost: to truly prevent sexual assault, we need to make sure we have consent when engaging in sexual activity.

    Another way to prevent sexual assault is to be a proactive bystander. A proactive bystander actively attempts to stop a possible or potential sexual assault from occurring.

    One way to be a proactive bystander is to watch out for friends who appear to be incapable of giving consent because of drinking or drug use (be aware if your friend seems to be acting differently than they usually do).

    Other ways to be a proactive bystander include:
    --Stepping in when you see someone feeding drinks.
    --Stepping in when someone makes a rape joke.
    “That test raped me”
    These statements minimize what sexual assault is. You don’t know other people’s experiences, and those ‘jokes’ can be triggering.
    --Stepping in when someone implies that it is okay to coerce someone into having sex.
    --Stepping in when someone makes a victim-blaming comment. These include things statements like “She shouldn’t have been drinking, wearing that outfit, walking alone, etc…”
    --Stepping in when you see someone touching people inappropriately on the dance floor.

    In being a proactive bystander, you can also start conversations to educate your friends about why things like these are unacceptable. By explaining to a friend why a victim-blaming statement is harmful to survivors, you are educating the campus community and being an ally to the movement to end sexual violence.

    The fact is that it is the perpetrator's responsibility to NOT assault, not your responsibility to protect yourself from being assaulted. Further, it is everyone’s responsibility as a community to work to create a safe environment and to end sexual violence.

  3. Love that you're still blogging for SAPAC Briana even during the summer break! NPAs rockkkk