Rutgers students introduced to "Not Anymore" sexual assault awareness, education initiative
Forget everything you know about sexual assault on campus: who it happens to, where it happens and who the perpetrators are. Students are now expected to complete a University sexual assault awareness and education initiative, called "Not Anymore."
“Not Anymore," which is one piece of a University-wide initiative, called "The Revolution Starts Here: End Sexual Violence Now," is a program comprised of a series of foundational definitions, reenactments, student interviews and firsthand accounts of college students’ experiences with sexual assault.
“Our biggest hope is that we are able to educate our campus community on resources, policies and procedures regarding sexual violence," said Jordan Draper, the University’s Title IX Coordinator, via email. " ... We want students to know there are many great resources on-campus that can help them or a peer. We also would like students to understand how to identify and intervene in potentially dangerous situations."
The program is part of a national campaign, but has been tailored to Rutgers students upon distribution.
The program covers consent, rape culture, bystander intervention, verbal defense, alcohol, healthy relationships and stalking. The course is available online until Sept. 28 and enters participants into a raffle for an RU Express gift card as a reward for completion.
There is a visual and audio indication of a trigger warning, but these almost only appeared during the students’ personal stories.
During any part of the lesson, individuals can use the “Resources” tab to get in touch with any or all of the University’s student resources, including Counseling, ADAP and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), Health, Outreach, Promotion and Education (H.O.P.E.) and Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (VPVA).
It is a continued goal of all staff to distribute flyers and inform students about what is available to them, said Chioma Egekeze, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore and a resident assistant on Douglass campus.
Jessica Dufort, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, described how all throughout her residence hall there are bulletins that have information about all of the crisis and health centers at the University.
These resources and programs cannot accomplish anything on campus if students do not find them relevant, available and inclusive to all types of students, Draper said.
Draper’s office screened many different programs before picking the right one for the University. The office considered the diversity of the Rutgers student body when choosing the program. Throughout the course, there are representations of relationships on all ends of the spectrum.
The University has never done a sexual assault awareness campaign or initiative on this scale, but has high expectations for participation, according to an email sent to the student body.
Upperclassmen may remember participating in #iSPEAK, a climate survey of sexual assault awareness at Rutgers. According to Draper’s office, about 28 percent of undergraduates completed the survey.
One of #iSPEAK’s key findings showed students are not aware of how Rutgers responds to sexual violence, but they want to learn, Draper said. This makes the "Not Anymore" program more important.
The course also stresses that residential assistants can be an immediate resource.
Egekeze said her position is centered on empowering the survivor if they chose to come to an RA. But she noted that RAs are not trained to give counseling.
“We are there for support, but only to a certain extent,” she said.
All RAs are state-mandated reporters, meaning they must share any harmful or potentially threatening information with the Rutgers University Police Department. RAs cannot be an anonymous resource, but they will always outline all the other services on campus.
“As an individual, you should be able to choose what options are best for you,” Egekeze said.