As reports circulate that one in four women and one in eight men will be victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault by the time they leave high school and enter college, the eighth annual “R U Ready?” event to be held next Thursday in Copley Formal Lounge hopes to shed a light on the statistic and its relevance to Georgetown students.
“Two main things come from these stats,” Laura Kovach, director of the Women’s Center, said in an email. “First, that men are assaulted too and we need to support male survivors, and second that the rate of risk for women never changes throughout their lifetime.”
“R U Ready” began in 2003 in an effort to give survivors a voice and to raise awareness about resources, Kovach said.
“R U Ready?’ is a program that raises awareness about sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking on our campus and informs the community about on- and off-campus resources,” Kovach said. “We want participants to walk away with the necessary knowledge to be able to help a friend, classmate, teammate or roommate in the event they are assaulted.”
“R U Ready?” is a campus-wide sponsored event coordinated by Health Education Services, Counseling & Psychological Services, Residence Life, Center for Student Programs and the GU Women’s Center, according to the Women’s Center website.
“Sexual violence affects everyone, so I believe that it is very important to know what to do and how to react when confronted with sexual violence,” Melissa McClure (COL ’13), a facilitator for the event, said. “We are trying to promote understanding and knowledge in the Georgetown community about this very current and important issue.”
One of the most important aspects of the event is allowing the community to know that sexual assault is taken seriously at Georgetown and that there are resources available to students on campus.
“As a community we need to support survivors and hold perpetrators accountable,” Kovach said. “Perpetrator accountability is the key to ending sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking.”
In addition to raising awareness on sexual assault through “R U Ready?” the university’s Department of Public Safety is offering RAD – Rape Aggression Defense – courses to all female faculty, staff and students at no cost.
RAD is a 12-hour physical self-defense course for women that is designed to develop and enhance a woman’s options of self defense by providing information on risk reduction as well as instruction of a number of hands-on techniques, according to the DPS website.
Classes will run throughout October and November, and registration information can be found on the university’s public safety website.
“R U Ready?” will be held at 7 p.m. next Thursday in Copley Formal Lounge.
“The large crowd the event usually draws is evidence that a discourse on both sexual assault and prevention is alive at Georgetown,” Maggie Larkin (COL ’13) said. “Much like the university’s familiar adage, it’s time to join the conversation.”