Sexual Assault

Examining the Services CVIC has to Offer.

Madison Feltman, News Editor

This past week marked the It’s On Us Fall Week of Action here at the University of North Dakota. It’s On Us is a nationwide organization that promotes the importance of conversation within the topic of sexual violence.

It’s On Us encourages all different types of people to take part in the conversation and rally behind change and advocacy. The organization currently works with 95 partners and students across 500 different nationwide campuses.

The conversation begins nationwide with the fact that 11.2 percent of college students experience rape or sexual assault. Female students are four times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than males and only 20 percent of females age 18-24 report to law enforcement.

The conversation also continues here at UND. In the first six months of 2018, the Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) served 70 victims compared to 60 in 2017, for an overall increase of 30 percent. CVIC is a Grand Forks community based agency with offices located both on South 4th Street downtown and UND’s campus. CVIC at UND is a confidential, non-for-profit source that provides free services to survivors of stalking, violence and sexual violence.  

October marks the beginning of sexual assault awareness month and CVIC helped organize and promote events around campus increasing awareness about the topic of sexual assault, such as the Clothesline Project and the Take Back the Night rally.

“Sexual violence or any type of partner violence is hard to recognize because of the dynamics and the barriers,” Peggy Jo, CVIC Campus Prevention and Education Specialist said. “Everybody has a different way of experiencing this, which makes it important for us to talk about it. The more knowledgeable you are on it, the easier it is to recognize it and when you can recognize it, then you can provide services.”

The Clothesline Project brings awareness all around the world as powerful messages from survivors and victims are displayed on color coordinated t-shirts hung on across large clotheslines. Some of the colors include red/pink for survivors of sexual assault and rape, yellow for survivors of domestic violence and white for victims who have died as a result of physical violence.

The week was brought to a close with the annual Take Back the Night rally. Students and community members were invited to march from the Memorial Union to the Chester Fritz Auditorium as the sidewalks were decorated with messages of encouragement for victims to speak out. The night ended with a program combined of keynote speakers Allison Schroeder and Chris Smith who shared their own testimonials, followed by the presentation of the Peacemaker Award which was awarded to Dave Molemen, Altru CEO, for his unwavering support of CVIC.

At the end of the night, attendees were given a bag of purple sand to spread among the sidewalk cracks of Grand Forks to help to promote conversation and increase the awareness of domestic violence within the community.

With the increase in conversation, more victims of sexual violence and domestic violence are coming forward to seek help. UND provides many services to students who are faced with these issues which include the University Counseling Center, The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, Title IX, Student Health Services and The University Police Department.

Sexual and domestic violence is prevalent everywhere, including at UND. Finding ways to get involved and learn more about the topic promote prevention. Ways to get involved on campus include becoming a part of the It’s On Us student group and attending University events that promote awareness. Educate yourself to become a good bystander. If you see something say something.