Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
The crime of sexual assault takes many forms and threatens everyone in society, yet it is a problem demanding special attention in
university communities. In addition to the high incidence of sexual
assault on college campuses,
students who are assaulted can find themselves interacting with their
assailants because the perpetrator resides in the same dormitory or attends the
same class. In a campus environment,
assaults too frequently go unreported.
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Announcing last year’s
national campaign, President Obama
called sexual violence “an affront to our national conscience,” and he urged all Americans to confront and change
insensitive attitudes and victim-blaming wherever they persist.
The effort to increase awareness about sexual assault,
decrease its frequency, help victims, and hold students accountable who violate the Columbia
University Policy Against Sexual Assault, has long been a priority at Columbia.
We want you to be aware of all of the resources available on campus.
The University’s Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center is staffed
twenty-four hours a day by certified peer advocates ready to accompany
survivors to hospital emergency rooms and in their interactions with law
enforcement and campus security. The Men’s Peer Education Program
promotes accountability for individuals and the community. Columbia’s Health Services
also provides support to survivors of intimate partner violence, childhood sexual abuse,
and stalking. The University’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response
Program (SVPRP) is committed to building a respectful and safe campus by
educating students about consent and coercion. Supporting these
complementary University programs is the President’s Advisory Committee on
Sexual Assault. Much more information is available online.
Sexual assault causes psychological and physical trauma. Our goal is to reduce
the risk of sexual assault in our community and to prevent abuse before it
starts. The Columbia
for Sexual Assault Awareness Month include film screenings, a Shabbat observance,
a basketball tournament, and the
annual Take Back the Night march and speak-out.
Please consider participating in Sexual Assault Awareness Month and doing your
part to help prevent sexual assault.
Lee C. Bollinger