Clear the RAINN day covers sexual assault on college campuses

Clear the RAINN day covers sexual assault on college campuses

September 26
13:02 2014

Rhiannon Saegert / Senior Staff Writer

Two days after an assault that occurred on campus Tuesday night, different student organizations met in the Onstead Promenade for Clear the RAINN day to speak openly about sexual assault on campus and show their support for victims as part of the national Rape and Incest National Network Day.

Passing students were invited to decorate umbrellas, keeping with the rain theme, by writing encouraging or supportive messages. UPC organizer Jessica Lopez said the idea came from RAINN.org.

“It’s not an original idea, but it’s great to see that a lot of people have come out to help out with the event,” Lopez said. “We’ve had several sororities come out already. We’ve had SGA come out to decorate. We have a UPC umbrella over there.”

Health Promotion senior Heather Powers attended, sharing information about the Eagle Watch Bystander Prevention Program, which was revamped last summer.

“What we do is educate students on how to be a bystander,” Powers said. “Say you’re at a party and you see a friend who’s intoxicated, and a guy is really trying to push up on her and make the wrong approach. Well, we teach students how to be proactive. Stepping in, knowing how to get that friend away or stop the whole situation from going down.”

Powers said the program is student-run and focuses on keeping students informed.

“A lot of people don’t know what to do in certain situations, sometimes people don’t know who to call, so we just give them information,” Powers said.

The Transgender Intersex Alliance of Denton also attended, distributing flyers with sexual assault statistics among transgender and intersex individuals. According to RAINN.org, 50 percent of transgender individuals will be raped in their lifetime and intersex children are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted as non-intersex children.

“A lot of people don’t even realize that or think about it,” TRIAD president Aiden Aguinaga said. “They just go about their day and a lot of people don’t think about the trans community, because they’re not in the trans community. You have that sort of privilege. People are blinded and they don’t think. This violence, I would assume, I’m not a sociologist, I would assume it comes from society’s non-acceptance of the trans community or anyone not in the gender binary.”

Denton County Friends of the Family, a local volunteer organization dedicated to helping victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, also attended. Community education liaison Sarah Lehman said DCFOF was invited by SGA.

“What’s really great is that UNT, part of Denton County, is definitely part of our community that we do support and serve” Lehman said. “It’s never too late to get help. No matter if it’s years or decades later. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how long ago it happened. We have free services available, counseling. You don’t have to report something to receive aid or services.”

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