by CAMERON BOLTON
Fraternity and Sorority Life’s annual sexual assault prevention event occurred on Nov. 10 from 11 a.m until 1 p.m.
According to Violence Prevention Coordinator Lynne Cornelius, Bulldogs Against Sexual Assault has been happening for several years, though she’s not sure of the exact number. This fall, the organizers of the event decided to merge it with an event that usually happens in the spring called Sextival.
“Bringing that healthy sexual relationship atmosphere to having conversations around sexual assault,” Cornelius said. “So merging the two was just a great idea of engaging and bringing resources to the students involved.”
Children & Families of Iowa was brought in to do a presentation called In Her Shoes, which is an interactive walkthrough of what it means to be in a sexual assault or domestic violence situation and all that encompasses.
“I think the most effective session was the In Her Shoes scenario,” said Brennen Ohlemann, president of Theta Chi. “I thought it was interesting following the story of a single survivor and whether it’s getting caught up in the legal issues or or having to put a band-aid on when your survivor gets physically assaulted and having to have that sink in. It was just an interesting and informative way to explain how difficult and disorienting the process can be for a lot of survivors.”
The other group that held a session was Planned Parenthood, who held a conversation around consent and gender and how those two ideas in relationships coincide with sexual violence.
“I thought that [In Her Shoes] was really valuable,” said Josie Bauer, the vice president of risk management at Alpha Phi. “Honestly, all the sessions have been very cool and kind of eye-opening to understand what different organizations or different campus organizations do, but then also understanding how gender roles play into sexual assault.”
Besides the two sessions, the Sextival was a series of panels spread out over upper Olmsted for attendees to go up to and receive information. Organizations that had a table at the Sextival included Polk County Crisis & Advocacy, The Project, RHA, and many more. Those in attendance received a checklist because after they visited each table, they were eligible to enter a lottery to win a water bottle, Starbucks gift card, or iPhone speaker.
Lunch consisted of pizza and salad. There was also a panel while everyone ate featuring speakers from Positive MENtality, Violence Intervention Partners, and Students for Reproductive Justice.
According to Cornelius, Bulldogs Against Sexual Assault is a program that comes from fraternity/sorority life. The Violence Prevention Office just helps them host it. Because of that, fraternities and sororities are required to send a percentage of their chapter to the event. In fact, the event used to be Greeks Against Sexual Assault. They changed the name a few years ago to Bulldogs so that it was more inclusive to all of campus.
“There’s a couple [events like this] throughout the year. We hosted a domestic violence panel in October for domestic violence awareness month, and it consisted of a survivor, a prosecutor, and a sexual assault nurse examiner. It was a sexual assault, domestic violence case,” Cornelius said. “They came together and shared their story of a specific case that happened and walked the audience through the events of that situation, and again it’s that education and empathy-building environment that we were looking for.
In the spring for sexual assault awareness month, VIP and several other groups host a variety of what’s going on throughout the month, according to Cornelius.