This past April, Vice President Joe Biden, who wrote and helped pass into law the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, spoke at the University of New Hampshire to promote a new initiative set forth by the Obama administration. A 19-page “policy guidance” was sent by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to all school districts, colleges and universities that receive federal funding. The letter outlines and reinforces current requirements for handling sexual violence under Title IX, which was originally designed to protect students against sexual discrimination, including sexual harassment and assault.
Twenty percent of all female college students will experience sexual assault. That’s one in five. The national average for all women is one in six. The percentage for college males is 6 percent.
Title IX works in conjunction with the Jeanne Clery Act of 1990, which requires schools to report three years worth of campus crime every Oct. 1 as well as certain security policies, including sexual assault policies.
UNH, where Biden made his speech, has been nationally recognized as having one of the most progressive rape awareness and prevention programs in the country. UNH has two initiatives that have served as models for other colleges: Know Your Power and Bringing in the Bystander.
Know Your Power is a social marketing campaign encouraging students to intervene when they witness domestic violence or sexual assault. Bringing in the Bystander is an education and awareness program that teaches students through interactive discussion and learning exercises that everyone has a role in ending violence against women.
Beginning January, STRIVE, UF’s rape awareness program, plans to expand into a model based on UNH’s Bringing in the Bystander program.
Bringing in the Bystander is a “90-minute, face-to-face educational program […] of structured programming, interactive presentations and discussions, that teaches not only statistics, but skills for helping, too,” said Jennifer Stuart, the coordinator of STRIVE.
“It’s a more direct effort to get out the education and prevention,” said Ron Del Moro, a peer educator.
Look for the upcoming full-length article in the Winter issue of The Fine Print.