In 2015, New York State’s Governor Andrew Cuomo launched an awareness campaign Enough is Enough to combat sexual violence on college campuses. The legislation requires all colleges to adopt a set of comprehensive procedures and guidelines, including a uniform definition of affirmative consent, a state wide amnesty policy and expanded access to law enforcement for the victim. It is considered as one of the most aggressive policies in the nation for fighting sexual violence among young students. CAMBA is fortunate to be implementing the Enough is Enough Initiative through CAMBA’s Victims Assistance Program.
Nearly two thirds of college students experience sexual harassment.
Dulcie Delfonce, a Health Educator within the Rape Crisis Program, shared the purpose and impact of their work. She and other staff members collaborate with various colleges in Brooklyn to provide accurate information to college students and administration through their workshops on sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and consent. In these workshops, participants are given materials and skills to identify and define sexual assault, consent and boundaries. More than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault. Enough is Enough teaches students that they have the right to ask for an investigation of sexual assault and ensure that schools appropriately respond to those incidents.
20% – 25% of college women and 15% of college men are victims of forced sex during their time in college.
Dulcie shared that many participants have spoken to her privately after a workshop and described moments in their own lives where they have unknowingly committed sexual assault, witnessed or were themselves the victims of an assault.
27% of college women have experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact.
In another workshop, she provided a female student literature to take home to her boyfriend so the two could begin a dialogue on boundaries. When Dulcie crossed paths with the student again at the school, the student reported that she was able to establish some healthy boundaries in her relationship. Dulcie stresses the importance of continuing this outreach to college students, many of whom who are navigating more a mature terrain for the first time and who need a safe space to ask questions and learn strategies for healthy relationships.
Dulcie’s advice for current and prospective sexual assault educators is to not expect everyone to be on board with the education, but to take heart in knowing that the conversation is only beginning, and will continue.
Featured image courtesy of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota
Thank you to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for providing statistics for this piece.