Campuswide Effort Seeks to Expand Education About Sexual Assault and Abuse

CSUN’s Associated Students’ video created as part of a campuswide campaign to educate the CSUN community about ways to to combat sexual violence.

The posters feature actual California State University, Northridge students reminding their peers that together they can stop sexual violence. The message is repeated in videos featuring CSUN student-athletes and leaders played during games in the Matadome and on the student government YouTube channel.

The videos, posters and new brochures that detail the rights and options for survivors of sexual violence are all part of an ongoing campuswide campaign to educate CSUN community members about ways to combat sexual violence and make the campus safer, including increasing awareness about available university and community resources for people who are survivors, as well as those wanting to find out how to help someone in need.

One of the posters used in the Shine a Light campaign.

One of the posters used in the Shine a Light campaign.

This week is Sexual Assault Awareness for Everyone week on campus, during which students, staff and faculty can attend a series of events — from the screening of the controversial film “The Hunting Ground” to a presentation from actress Annalynne McCord about surviving sexual assault — to learn more about preventing sexual assault and abuse.

“CSUN has had a variety of sexual assault prevention and awareness programs and resources for many years,” said Susan Hua, CSUN’s Title IX coordinator and a member of the university’s Sexual Violence Prevention Committee. “What the committee hopes to achieve with its campuswide ‘Shine A Light’ initiative is to bring those efforts together from all corners of the campus to collectively and unequivocally say we, as a community, oppose any and all forms of sexual- and gender-based violence — regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, or whether you are a student, faculty or staff.”

Members of the committee will facilitate a discussion following the film screening, scheduled for Thursday, April 23, in the Reseda Room of the University Student Union, to encourage a thoughtful dialogue about the chronic problems of sexual violence on university campuses across the nation and institutional responses.

Child and adolescent development major Lucy Le, 22, of Northridge, is an instructor for CSUN’s Project DATE,  which holds peer-to-peer presentations in classrooms across the campus throughout the year. Le, a member of the Sexual Violence Prevention Committee, applauded the campuswide effort.

“When most people think about sexual assault, they think it’s like in the movies or on TV — a women in a skimpy dress walking down a dark alley at night,” Le said. “That’s not reality. Rape can happen anywhere, at any time, and it doesn’t matter what you are wearing.

“Part of the what we do in educating our peers is to talk about the ‘bystander effect,’” she added. “We all have a responsibility to look out for one another. If you see something that doesn’t look right, you need to step in and make sure that everything is okay.”

The educational campaign goes beyond the classroom. CSUN’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council has created an “It’s On Us” video that is played in the Matadome during games, while Associated Students, CSUN’s student government, created a similar video that is available for viewing on its YouTube channel.

“It’s on all of us to make a difference and work together to stop sexual violence,” said Ashlie Kite, senior associate director of athletics. “Our student-athletes are proud to be at the forefront of this initiative and to raise awareness and spread the message to the community.”

Student body president Tiffany Zaich said it was essential that everyone on campus, especially students, take part in the campaign.

“As a Matador, it’s important to come together as a community and help each other understand the importance of not being a bystander, but to take action,” Zaich said. “Students educating other students is one of the most powerful and effective ways to create real change. We are seeing this happen on campus with the issue of sexual assault, and it has brought us together as a community of Matadors.”

Hua said educating the community about sexual violence is an ongoing and collective effort.

“Preventing and ending sexual violence requires more than the efforts of one person, one group, one office, and it’s not just a woman’s issue,” she said. “It’s on the entire community of Matadors — we all have a shared responsibility to foster a safe and respectful campus culture.”

Below is the student-athletes’ video:

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