February Programs to Focus on Sexual Assault Awareness

UNIVERSITY PARK — University Police will be offering two sexual assault awareness programs in February to students, faculty and staff at all Penn State campuses.

The courses, offered online through Adobe Connect, are part of a series of programs for Dating Violence and Awareness Month to be offered to all members of the Penn State community.

“We wanted to involve faculty, staff and students at all campuses to get involved,” said Sgt. Frances Pollack, University Police crime prevention and community education officer. “The idea is to encourage everyone to think about these issues as a university community.”

The courses, each scheduled to run an hour and a half, will focus on sexual assault responses, statistics and descriptions.

The first program, “Start by Believing,” is part of a national campaign by End Violence Against Women International and will focus on appropriate responses to sexual assault.

“It takes a lot for victims of sexual assault to come forward and report to anyone, let alone police,” Pollack said. “If that person gets the wrong response from a person they trust, then they’re not going to feel as comfortable to go to the police, or to other local resources like the Women’s Resource Center or the Center for Women Students. The best thing that you can do is say, ‘I believe you.’ ”

“Start by Believing” will be presented online at 10 a.m. today. You can visit here to register.

The second program of the month will cover statistics, definitions of sexual assault terms and Clery Act and Title IX reporting requirements.

“A lot of people don’t understand how sexual assault, rape and indecent assault are defined under the law in Pennsylvania,” Pollack said. “It’s important to get those definitions in front of people so they can understand that yes, what happened to me is not only bad, but it’s also a violation of the law and that person can be held accountable.”

“Sexual Assault Prevention” will be presented at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 25. You can visit here to register.

Interested participants can register for free. Registrants will then receive an email with directions to view the online programs.

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