The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Flames: Sexual Assault Awareness Programs

St. John’s recently partnered with the Callisto Project, an online reporting system for victims of sexual assault. SJU is one of 13 schools to participate in the program, and it’s another sign that while some schools are focused on sweeping sexual assault under the rug, St. John’s is taking the issue seriously.

Callisto says the number of sexual assault cases rose at schools who have used the two-year-old program. While some schools may view this negatively — a cynic might say more instances of sexual assault reported will hurt admissions — it actually says something positive about the efforts put forth by colleges like St. John’s to create better systems for reporting sexual assault.

Callisto is far from being the only way SJU is attempting to educate its students and make them feel prepared to discuss or report sexual assault. Throughout the academic year, St. John’s sponsors events like “Take Back The Night” and bystander intervention training. We are also partnered with It’s On Us.

Additionally, first-year students are required to take Haven, an online course about sexual violence and dating. As St. John’s website notes, it “is a confidential course on healthy relationships, sexual violence, stalking, and relationship violence to help you understand sexual assault and learn about consent.”

The University’s website also notes, “Today, it’s estimated that one in five women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted. Just 12% of those assaults are reported.”

This underscores the importance of a program like Callisto, as well as the other events and programs St. John’s participates in to spread awareness about sexual assault.

Sexual assault is once again in the national spotlight thanks to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who recently announced that she wants to change the government’s current system for the sexual assault “enforcement system” on college campuses, according to the Washington Post. She believes that the system needs to be more fair to people accused of assault. It’s an opinion that’s garnered a lot of criticism, and we understand why.

This development is further proof that sexual assault remains a hot-button issue, and one that needs to be taken seriously. As this issue develops, we hope SJU will continue to take appropriate actions to educate students about sexual assault. There’s still a long way to go when it comes to eradicating this problem, but we’re glad St. John’s seems to be stepping into the right direction.

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