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Kent State Establishes a New Office to Assist With Response, Referrals and Reporting of Sexual Violence

Posted Sep. 2, 2013
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Kent State University’s Division of Diversity, Equity and
Inclusion has established the Office of Sexual and
Relationship Violence Support Services.

A U.S. Department of Justice study found that for every 1,000 women on campus, there are 35 rapes each academic year. Additionally, anecdotal reports find that the fall semester, particularly the first three to five weeks of the semester, are when women are at greatest risk. However, sexual assault does not just happen to women. Men can be assaulted as well.

For this reason, Kent State University’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has established the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services (SRVSS Office; pronounced “serves”). Coming out of what has been known as the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services was created to educate students about personal safety and violence prevention, empower them to build healthier relationships and prevent sexual violence, and to be responsive to students in need.

Located in the Carriage House at 125 Midway Drive on the Kent Campus, the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services provides a safe space to students who have experienced sexual violence (including sexual assault, intimate partner/relationship violence and stalking) to access resources, get support when participating in a criminal or conduct process and navigate support within the campus community. Faculty and staff who learn of an assault from a student are encouraged to connect the student with the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services for support in overcoming the trauma of sexual violence. The Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services also can assist faculty and staff in meeting the reporting expectations of Title IX.

The office is staffed by a full-time professional who also provides training and workshops to faculty, staff and student groups in the classroom, during meetings and as part of residence hall or student organization programming. Topics include Bystander Responsibility Training, Sexual Violence Awareness and Healthy Relationships. Throughout the year, the office will sponsor many campuswide events to raise awareness about sexual violence, its impact on the community and what community members can do to stop and prevent it from happening. The office is open to all students, faculty and staff.

According to the National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six women and one in 33 men will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetime. Increasing awareness and encouraging others to step up and speak out to prevent it from happening makes a difference.

For more information or to schedule a presentation, please visit the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services website at www.kent.edu/srvss or contact Jennie O’Connell, sexual assault response coordinator, at 330-672-8016.