MUSG hears presentation on sexual assault bystander training

At the March 29 Marquette Student Government meeting, the MUSG Senate heard a presentation from university officials on Marquette’s sexual violence awareness and education efforts.

According to Chris Daood, assistant director of Marquette’s Counseling Center and one of the presenters, students can partake in one-hour training sessions related to sexual assault bystander training.

“Sexual violence prevention efforts this year were comprehensive, providing a strong start point for ongoing training that will be provided throughout upcoming academic years,” Daood said in an email. “These efforts are intended to help students not only feel more safe, but also to increase knowledge about sexual assault and develop bystander intervention skills to keep their friends safe.”

Bystander training, focus groups and peer-led discussions “mobilize participants to recognize, intervene, prevent and/or stop inappropriate comments, actions and behaviors. The entire campus community plays a valuable role in preventing acts that violate the basic dignity of an individual,” according to Marquette’s sexual misconduct Web page.

Mark Long, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said he would participate in the bystander training if he could fit it in his schedule.

“I know a lot of people who take it seriously,” Long said. “People know right from wrong on campus.”

In addition to the trainings, Susanne Cooper was hired as a sexual violence advocate in Student Health Service last fall.

Cooper’s position involves providing information to students about reporting options, obtaining restraining orders and support throughout the student conduct and criminal justice processes.

The Sexual Assault Treatment Center located in Aurora Sinai Hospital is one off-campus resource available to Marquette students.

The treatment center serves Milwaukee and its suburbs and offers 24-hour care for victims of sexual assault. The center has a liaison relationship with the Aurora Healing Center, a part of the Aurora Health Care system which provides emotional support to assault victims.

Adam Beeson, a spokesperson for Aurora Health Care, said the SATC saw more than 500 victims of sexual assault in 2011.

Beeson said both the SATC and the Healing Center work with Marquette students.

“Anything that is available for another patient is available for a student,” Beeson said. “The center has a long history of working with the university in helping students deal with the traumatic situation.”

Beeson said he doesn’t think the number of victims in 2011 should be cause for fear but added that students should be safety-conscious.

Christopher Miller, vice president for student affairs, said Marquette has made progress in the last year on sexual violence, stressing the university’s awareness and education efforts.

“We want any student who is a victim of sexual assault to be supported and to come forward so she or he can make use of the many resources the university and our community partners have to offer,” Miller said. “We know that sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes but are optimistic that our extensive education efforts are having an impact.”

Marquette has also set up a Web page where students can get more information.

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