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IU Northwest launches sexual misconduct awareness and prevention program

Events, speakers, workshops and more tackle sexual misconduct experienced by students

Tuesday Sep 05, 2017

With the fall semester underway at Indiana University Northwest, the campus wants to ensure students understand the importance of recognizing and preventing sexual misconduct, including domestic and dating violence, sexual harassment and stalking.

With the Office of Student Activities taking the lead, IU Northwest is hosting a series of free events aimed at directly confronting this serious issue.

  • “Sex Signals” - This interactive play is an often-hilarious exploration of the cultural messaging received about gender, sexuality, sexual consent and intimate relationships. Facilitated by Catharsis Productions, “Sex Signals” examines and offers practical guidance for stepping up the role all play in stopping sexual violence. Thursday, Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Clothesline Project – Now in its fifth year, the Clothesline Project invites students, faculty and staff to design t-shirts in honor of someone who has experienced gender violence, perhaps even themselves. The t-shirts are then exhibited in the Moraine Student Center as a visual representation of the lasting impact violence has on abusers, survivors, their families, and communities. T-shirt design sessions: Monday, Sept. 18 to Thursday, Sept. 28. Exhibit: Monday, Oct. 2 to Friday, Oct. 13.
  • What Happens When I Report A Sexual Assault? – Studies show sexual crimes often go unreported. To encourage students to speak up, this workshop will explain what happens after authorities are notified, including the IU Northwest and region’s support systems and resources available to informants and victims. Speakers include detectives, prosecutors, health professionals and crisis counselors from the following organizations: Lake County Prosecutor’s Office; Lake County Sheriff’s Department; Franciscan Health; the Fair Haven Center for Women; and MESA (Multicultural Efforts to end Sexual Assault). Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 11:30 a.m.
  •  “Locker Room Talk or Toxic Masculinity?” with Byron Hurt – Best known for his award-winning documentary “Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes,” Hurt is a filmmaker, published writer, anti-sexist activist, and lecturer. He will lead a frank conversation challenging students to question, reimagine, and redefine manhood and gender roles. Thursday, Oct. 5 at 5:30 p.m.

A caring community

IU Northwest is an active participant in the Indiana University Student Welfare Initiative, which aims to prevent and respond to all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct and to support the safety and well-being of students.

According to Beth Tyler, associate vice chancellor and dean of students, the upcoming programming is part of IU Northwest’s comprehensive approach to creating awareness about and preventing sexual misconduct in all of its forms, from sexual harassment, to stalking, to dating violence, to sexual assault. The programming intends to address the particular challenges that IU Northwest students face in their lives on and off campus, which differ from those faced by students at residential campuses, as revealed in a Community Attitudes and Experiences with Sexual Assault Survey administered to IU Northwest students in 2016.

Whereas reports of sexual assault are relatively low at IU Northwest, students report experiencing sexual harassment, domestic and dating violence, and stalking in their lives after enrolling. It also showed that more than half of undergraduate men and women have never talked about issues of consent with anyone, and that undergraduate women are the least likely to understand how to follow-up with campus officials after a sexual assault.

In order to address these issues on behalf of our students, and in response to the 2013 Violence Against Women and the Campus SaVE Acts, IU Northwest established a Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force, which exists to design and implement programs and services, in collaboration with campus and community partners, that increase awareness of sexual violence in order to work toward its elimination on our campus and in the local community.

Added Tyler, “We are focused on helping our students understand that no form of sexual misconduct is acceptable, and providing them with tools and resources to recognize and prevent it on- and off-campus, so they can be part of the solution.” To that end, Tyler is helping the Student Government Association in their initiative to establish a student organization that will supplement the programming activities sponsored by the task force.

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