Universities work to prevent sexual assault on campus - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Universities work to prevent sexual assault on campus

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - California lawmakers are taking a stand against sexual assault on college campuses.

Under the "yes means yes" bill, state-funded universities would have to adopt a set of clear guidelines defining consent.

So how are universities working to prevent violence at Heartland institutions?

Experts say education and access to information could change the campus culture.

Southeast Missouri State University has an online sexual assault prevention course that students must complete.

Counselors said an open dialogue with students is important as well.

Brittany Talley works with campus violence prevention at Southeast.

She has in-class presentations to talk to students about sexual violence, consent and what the university can do to help.

She said it's important that students feel trust and support from the college and surrounding community.

Because, unfortunately, the rate of sexual violence against women is very high.

"A lot of the studies tell us that one in five women will experience a sexual assault on their college campus," said Brittany Talley, coordinator with the Southeast campus violence prevention program. "And I think that says a lot about our society as a whole but also college culture and so if we can do some things up front, like these prevention presentations, teaching through the student body or other class work about responsible sexual behavior, I think that will do a lot to bring that number down."

In an effort to raise awareness on Southeast's campus, the violence prevention program is partnering with the football team.

On Sept. 25, those athletes will wear T-shirts promoting sexual assault awareness, which Talley said, provides female students with a strong male ally.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.
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