ASBSU now has it’s first ever sexual violence prevention committee

Photo by Taya Power-Thornton

ASBSU created their first ever sexual assault prevention committee dedicated to the awareness, determent and education of and about college sexual assault. 

ASBSU’s School of Public Service Senator Bella Antonucci and sophomore Kinesiology major Sydney Thompson, see the committee as “student voice” presence on campus involving student care and support for survivors. Antonucci and Thompson act as co-chairs over 8 other members, a mix of ASBSU representatives and students. 

“We started at the tail end of like September, beginning October…so we started meeting with the Dean of Students and the Gender Equity Center. We’re starting to gel with more resources to just begin learning more,” Anontucci said. 

Thompson became connected to Antonucci through ASBSU President Cheyon Sheen after she gave a speech about the topic in a communications class she shares with Sheen. 

“I did kind of similar work in high school,” Thompson said. “The club called Students Against Sexual Assault, which was kind of that student perspective on getting resources to students that was a little more approachable than a teacher, for example.”

Thompson explained how the club’s activities included drives, tabling and an educational video that was shared with her entire high school. 

Now, her advocacy efforts are present in college alongside Antonucci and the rest of the committee. The two plan to start tabling events soon.

“We also want to make ourselves known since we’re so new. We want to get more people on our committee and have more people reach out to us so — not only starting to get resources out but also getting people that are interested in helping us too,” Thompson said. 

The Sexual Violence Prevention Committee aims to host an event in April for Sexual Assault Awareness month, and start to be an accessible point of contact for students seeking help. 

For events in the future, the committee wants to collaborate with on campus resources and organizations to normalize conversations and familiarize the student body with faces who work in offices on campus that deal with sexual assault crimes.  

“When we do these events, like kind of the bigger events in the future, [the plan] is to have as many resources as we can visibly there so we are creating the actual, physical space where people can actually meet them,” Antoinccui said. “So that if they do end up needing to report a crime, it’s not their first time seeing somebody in the office, but like, ‘I’ve seen them before’… and they actually know who they’re going to be talking to”. 

Thompson spoke of the ultimate goal the committee has for the future, and her hope for it.

“So shifting the culture where people can feel comfortable enough to report if something happens, or they could protect themselves and be helpful to people in their life that are survivors…that culture shift — where people can feel more comfortable talking about it, I think is what I would like to provide,” Thompson said.

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