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BY BREE SCOTT
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Graphic courtesy of LUPD.

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The United States Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities such as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape.” With sexual assault being a prevalent problem on campuses across the U.S., Lewis is taking steps to combat the issue.

 

According to Lewis’ 2016 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, there were two reports of rape on campus in 2014, four reports in 2015 and two reports in 2016. In 2016, there was one report of inappropriate fondling. The Lewis community also received an email of reported sexual assault that occurred recently on campus on Oct. 24.

LUPD Officer Margie Lill is a specialist on sexual assault crimes on campus. Statistics show that one out of five women are sexually assaulted. However, Officer Lill points out that these statistics don’t come from women who actually report the crime, but rather these numbers are gathered from a confidential survey given to college-aged women. “The problem with that number is that it is based off of those who actually report the incident,” said Officer Lill. “Sexual assault is a serious offense, regardless if it happens once or ten times.”

 

Officer Lill offered the following helpful tips to prevent the possibility of sexual assault. One, know your surroundings and pay attention to what is going on around you. Two, when you are walking somewhere, whether on campus or elsewhere, know where you can run to for help. Three, when you’re going out, let a friend know who you are going out with and where you’re going. Four, if you take an Uber or other taxi service, snap a quick picture of the license plate and send it to a friend in the event that something happens. Five, don’t always take the same route in your travels; don’t be predictable. Six, when going to a house party or a bar, watch your drinks; know what you’re drinking and how much, and take a buddy with you.

 

“What is important is being a part of a community that keeps each other safe, so be a great bystander. If you see something happen you know is wrong, call the police, step in or get someone who can help,” said Officer Lill.

LUPD offers a two-day program for men and women called the R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense) program. It is both a lecture-based and hands-on based program which assists in prevention, awareness and self-defense in cases of sexual assault.. The next R.A.D. programs coming up for women takes place on Jan. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Jan. 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Officer Lill urges anyone who is interested in registering or would like more information to email her at lillma@lewisu.edu.

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