UHDPS offers students tips to prevent sexual assault
With word of last month’s sexual assault spreading fast across campus, Lt. Brett Collier from UH’s Department of Public Safety wants students to get the facts instead of gossiping about the two parties involved in the incident.
“Please keep in mind that in this instance, the victim and suspect were acquaintances who lived in the same residential complex (Moody Towers),” Collier said. “This was not a case of someone from off-campus coming to campus and sneaking into a building to victimize one of our students.”
Students who reside on-campus at Moody Towers — like media production junior Shiquita Williams — said she couldn’t believe that something like this could happen but has always taken precautions.
“Of course I was shocked, but I was never worried because I think I am very protective of myself,” Williams said. “I’m careful about not letting everyone know where my room is and when I walk around campus, I usually carry a pocket knife or some mace.”
To help all female students get the same mindset as Williams, the UHDPS offers programs that females can take at the school for self-defense.
“The UHDPS offers small or large group presentations and one-on-one discussions on ways to prevent becoming a victim,” Collier said.
One of the more popular programs dealing with the prevention of violence against women is the Rape Aggression and Defense program.
“This is a 12-hour self-defense course that provides crucial information and instruction to women that may, at some point, need to protect themselves from being a victim of sexual assault,” Collier said.
Besides self-defense, licensed psychologist and assistant director at Counseling and Psychological Services Dr. Cecilia Sun wants students who live on and off campus to know that counseling is another important thing for those who have been sexually assaulted.
“After someone is assaulted, they may experience a variety of emotional reactions like anger, denial, anxiety and shame,” Sun said. “Whatever your reaction, it is important for you to feel free to voice your feelings and needs.”
CAPS regularly provides individual therapy to survivors of rape and sexual assault, along with a Sexual Trauma Survivors’ group and workshops about sexual assault prevention.
Sun also revealed the statistics on college women and sexual assault.
“A 2007 campus sexual assault study found that 13.7 percent of undergraduate women had been victims of at least one completed sexual assault since entering college,” Sun said.
Along with the information from self-defense programs and counseling groups, students should realize that most assaults occur under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Collier also wants people to realize who a rapist usually is.
“The most important thing to realize is that the majority of sexual assaults that occur are committed by an acquaintance,” Collier said.
“While there are often warning signs of a person’s intentions, they’re not always easy to see and our guard is often down when we are with people we know.”