North Texas College Campuses on Heightened Alert to Prevent Sexual Assaults - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

North Texas College Campuses on Heightened Alert to Prevent Sexual Assaults



    Campuses Push for Sexual Assault Protection

    A Washington Post report looking at federal crime stats shows 100 colleges and universities reported 10 reports of rape on main campuses in 2014. Campuses around the country, including in North Texas, say they're doing what they can to help prevent sexual assaults. (Published Tuesday, June 7, 2016)

    There is new and troubling information about rape on college campuses. A Washington Post report looking at federal crime statistics shows that 100 colleges and universities recorded at least 10 reports of rape on their main campuses in 2014, the last time that information became available.

    This follows two major sex assault scandals – first, at Stanford University, where a former swimmer was sentenced to just six months in prison for sexually assaulting a woman in an alley on campus while she was unconscious; second, at Baylor University, where several employees recently lost their jobs over allegations they failed to protect sexual assault victims on their campus.

    From the campus of Texas Christian University it's easy to look to nearby Baylor and far away Stanford and feel grateful their scandals aren't happening here.

    "It really makes me sad for them, and I wish that something could have been done before it got to the point that it did," said TCU student Ashley Sumrall.

    But sexual assault can happen anywhere, especially on college campuses.

    "When you mix alcohol, partying and drugs," said TCU student Caroline Pulliam.

    Counselors at the Women's Center of Tarrant County say there's only one way to fight it.

    "For students to be educated, professors and administrators, because that's what's going to change the culture," said Katharine Collier-Esser, coordinator of research and training for the Women’s Center.

    The Women's Center works with area universities, like TCU, providing training to students in the classroom and to Title IX officers who take reports of sexual assaults.

    At TCU, incoming freshmen take mandatory sexual assault training before they ever make it on campus. They get alerts of any on-campus security threats and can take safety classes from campus police.

    But students say it comes down to them to make sexual assault unacceptable, make sure victims aren't blamed and encourage them to speak out.

    "Feeling like they're able to come forward and able to tell their story, they won't be judged and they'll automatically be believed," said Pulliam. "This is our school, we're the students, we're the ones that have the most power to stop it."

    NBC 5 checked in with other area campuses Tuesday, including Southern Methodist University, University of North Texas and University of Texas at Arlington, and administrators said they're offering ongoing training there as well.

    The Women's Center says along with training on how not to become a victim, it's important to train on how not to become an offender, by teaching about respect and understanding boundaries.

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