IWU Training Hones In On Aspects Of Sexual Assault
Illinois Wesleyan University officials say they are bracing for increased reports of sexual assault and harassment as a result of the publicity surrounding the Me Too and Time's Up movements.
IWU staff participated in a sexual assault awareness training Monday, coordinated by the YWCA Stepping Stones Rape Crisis Center.
"I think we are going to see a bump in students asking critical questions and coming forward, not only for themselves but their friends," said Darcy L. Greder, IWU associate dean of students.
Greder said the university encourages its students "to support one another" in preventing and reporting sexual misconduct.
The YWCA's Stepping Stones program served nearly as many people in the first four months of this year as it did all of last year, its director Hilary Pacha said.
Pacha said more people are now willing to report sexual assaults, ask questions about sexual harassment, and seek help.
The Stepping Stones program helped 232 people through April, compared to 237 during all of last year, she reported.
"The Me Too Movement and Times Up Movement have shown a cultural shift, and even though here in Bloomington-Normal, there is not huge shift in our community's view on sexual assault, we however have had more clients come in," Pacha said.
Reports of sexual assaults in the City of Bloomington rose more than 60 percent last year.
IWU said it investigated seven forcible sexual offenses on campus in 2016, the most recent year for which statistics are available. That compares with four in 2015.
Annorah Moorman, director of IWU counseling services, said the university's counseling, health services and chaplain's office participate in annual on-going education in the area of sexual assault. She said the training offers a "refresher on the resources we have in the area.".
In addition to YWCA staff, the IWU training included representatives from Prairie State Legal Services, the McLean County State's Attorney's office and BroMenn Hosptial, as well as the public information officer for the Bloomington police.
The training covered such topics as sexting, blackmail, and the neurobiology of trauma.
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