CLUB NOTEBOOK:With a little education, we can produce a lot of results
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a woman is raped every two minutes in the United States. Although this statistic is frightening, I did not open this article with it intending to scare you. Rather, my intent is to show you that there are ways we can fix this statistic, although it will require some work.As an active member and past co-coordinator of the Committee on Rape Education (CORE), I would like to share the knowledge of who we are and what we do within the Brandeis community. As one of the many support groups on campus, CORE has a very specific mission.
Our name can be misleading because it implies that we deal only with rape education. However, we do more than that. We are a peer education group that concentrates on teaching students about issues including sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship violence and rape.
Each spring, professionals come to train CORE members so they are educated and equipped to go out and educate the Brandeis community. We can speak about topics such as pregnancy options, AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, the effects of drug and alcohol use, post traumatic stress disorder, sexual orientation issues, reporting sexual assault incidents on the Brandeis campus, safety and prevention tips and the importance of being in a healthy relationship.
Our aim each fall semester is to be invited into as many first year hall meetings as possible to raise awareness about these issues. While many of us who attended liberal public schools received comprehensive sexual education throughout our pre-college years, we must remember that not all of our fellow students were privy to the same educational experiences.
It is important that peer education groups on campus, such as CORE, reach these students through dorm raps and other campus-wide programs early in their college years. Regardless of previous education, Brandeis students all need to learn about their rights-both at Brandeis and in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts-and how Brandeis is equipped to deal with instances of sexual assault and abuse.
A common misconception on the Brandeis campus is that "these things don't happen here." But, the sad truth is that it does happen here. Each year, attacks are recorded on the Brandeis campus, and we can only guess how many go unreported. CORE seeks to bring knowledge about the different support groups and the feelings that are to be expected after a traumatic experience so that students know where to go for help and are better equipped to deal with these experiences.
While CORE aims to teach, we also want to raise general awareness and sensitivity that Brandeis students will take with them even after they graduate. One of the best programs to promote this goal is Take Back the Night, a rally against sexual violence that takes place throughout college campuses and communities across the nation every spring. At Brandeis, marchers begin at the Rabb steps and make a loop, stopping at the quads along the way, and ending in North Quad. We pause in each quad for anyone who is moved to speak or reflect, or disclose their own personal experiences. It is a significant night because it shows survivors that they are not alone in their experiences of abuse. Enthusiasm and support for Take Back the Night has grown immensely over the past four years, which is an encouraging sign of the climate of social awareness at Brandeis.
CORE is open to speaking to any organized groups of any class year on campus. To community advisers, we ask you to contact us and invite us to your hall meetings. You can find our contact information in the Clubs section of the Brandeis Web site. We can answer questions or run our own program centered on whatever concerns you feel are particularly crucial for your residents. And residents, tell your CAs that you want to hear what we have to say. On behalf of the members of CORE, I look forward to speaking to you in your residence halls and meeting you at Take Back the Night.