Tag Archive | "sexual assault"

University students gather to rock out The Red Zone

By Morganne Lenning

“We are excited to be a part of something that will have a positive impact on people’s lives.” – Isidro Yaptinshay, Manager of Lions Ambition

Students, faculty and staff gathered in the Commons Friday night to hang with friends, eat free food, enjoy live music but, most importantly, to Rock Out the RedZone.

The RedZone is the first three months of fall semester when students on college campuses are at a higher risk of sexual assault. The Campus Activity Board partners with organizations across campus to put on the event to educate UWF students about the dangers of over-intoxication and what Robin Thicke calls “blurred lines.”

The beginning of the semester and a new school year means students are forming new relationships and often living in unfamiliar areas. The rush of freedom also means that some students will experiment more with alcohol. These factors create an environment that has an increased risk for sexual assault involving students.

“We want to introduce students to the department, get them some resources and really just give students a sense of community here at UWF,” Junior Adam Smith said. Smith is a peer educator with Counseling and Wellness Services.

More than an educational event, the concert brought students together with each other and various organizations around campus as part of the Argo Arrival goal.

Students threw their hands in the air to catch the freebies that volunteers threw from the second floor in the Commons while other students swayed with the live music from Lion’s Ambition, the band CAB hired to play for the Rock Out the RedZone concert.

Members of the Seattle-based rock band Lion’s Ambition, were excited to travel to Florida to spread their message to connect with different people and share aspirations.

“At first we did not know about the event’s cause,” said band manager Isidro Yaptinshay in an e-mail interview.  “However, we were happy to find out about the event’s purpose. We are excited to be a part of something that will have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Laughter and good vibes radiated from live music and the audience as senior Naomi Eustache said, “I think it was a good turnout. I like the band a lot.”

The Rock Out the RedZone event was aimed at educating students about protecting themselves and each other from sexual assault, and students walked away with great memories and a new perspective on the RedZone.

Sophomore Trent Durham was not sure what the RedZone was before coming.

“Someone just told me there is an event going on in the Commons,” Durham said. “I think it’s important to raise awareness because if students are aware of what things can happen, then less incidents of sexual assault will occur.”

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UWF takes back the night

The University of West Florida’s Counseling and Wellness Center is hosting UWF’s twelfth annual Take Back The Night, April 4 at 6 p.m. with the colloquium in the University’s auditorium.

Take Back The Night is an annual event that is held in 40 countries throughout the world serving as a supportive event for sexual assault survivors while raising awareness of this issue and delivering the message of prevention.

Lindsey Greeson, a health educator at counseling and wellness services, and a UWF Peer Educator advisor, is one of the coordinators of the event.

“The first Take Back The Night event of the United States was in Philadelphia in October of 1975,” Greeson said. “They rallied because of the murder of a young biologist who was stabbed and sexually assaulted by a stranger while walking home alone.”

Greeson said she hopes that Take Back The Night will create a “supportive environment for survivors that takes away any kind of victim blaming,” she said.

“There is primary victimization, which means someone themselves has been sexually assaulted, and then there’s secondary victimization where it could be their mom, sister, friend, roommate, and that’s the most common experience that happens,” Greeson said.

Only about 9 percent of men and less than 30 percent of women who have been sexually assaulted report it, said Greeson.

“So part of this event is letting survivors of this and people close to survivors about the resources and they’re options so if they did want to report it, they could know how to go about it.”

The colloquium starts at 6 p.m. in the auditorium, but students are encouraged to join the UWF Peer Educators for the campus march at 5:30 p.m.

“We go from Martin to Heritage, to Pace, to Argo, then to the auditorium where there will be free food, free t-shirts, and we’ll be giving away a ton of free stuff with our messages on it, all centered around our theme this year, “Like a Boss,” Greeson said.

Even though Take Back The Night is an annual event, this year clickers will be added as a part of the presentation. About 400 of the remote control-type devices will be distributed during the event to the students to vote for different options regarding sexual violence completely anonymously, Greeson said.

Based on the attendance of previous years, Greeson said that students who want to use the clickers may want to sit towards the front of the auditorium to increase their chances of getting one.

Zachary Smith, 21, a junior criminal justice major and Resident Assistant at Argo Hall has attended the event in previous years.

Smith said this event is important “because it spreads awareness of sexual assault so it’s easier to prevent it.

“I think that sexual assault is a big deal on a college campus,” Smith said. “Mainly because of the age group around here and the parties.”

Sherell Wood, 18, a freshman legal studies major, and one of three emcees for Take Back the Night, is truly excited for this event.

“I really believe this is a great event to stress the awareness of sexual violence and the prevention of it,” Wood said. “Take Back The Night will be a memorable event where students will be able to advocate and actually take a stand against this issue, starting with the campus march.”

Katherine Cordero
Contributing Writer 

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