Not just red flags

By By Jade Gray and By Jade Gray

By Jade Gray

This week, the student group Peers Educating to End Rape (PEER), in alliance with the U’s Women’s Resource Center, presented the annual “Seeds of Violence” week on campus.

Group members and volunteers placed red flags around the Union to give students a visual recognition of those who were sexually assaulted in their community.

Each flag represents an individual who went to the Rape Recovery Center of Salt Lake City to seek help this year.

Linda Sabrowski, Administrative Assistant to the Women’s Resource Center at the U, said the visual presentation is effective.

“When students simply look at the flags, they only see the flags,” she said.

“But when they read the signs and realize that those flags represent victims of sexual assault and rape in their community, that’s really powerful.”

But apparently, the red flags only represent a tip of the iceberg. According to PEER statistics, only 9.8 percent of assault and rape cases are reported to police. And there are approximately 1,300 flags on campus-representing only the reported cases.

PEER is an undergraduate student group formed on campus in 1995. Members give presentations to the Residence Halls, greeks and classes to help spread awareness on individual safety and making good choices.

Starting this year, the group also sponsors weekly discussions that go over misconceptions of sexual assault and the justice system’s approach to dealing with these cases.

The group is part of the Women’s Resource Center and relies on volunteer support for its success.

Sabrowski said that funding has been an issue with the group.

“Over the years, funding has been off and on, which sometimes makes it hard for them to make signs and be noticed,” she said. “But over these past couple of years, ASUU has been really great in helping out.”

The Rape Recovery Center of Salt Lake was founded in 1974 by a small group of community volunteers. The cause grew, and by the next year, it had become a non-profit organization.

Natalie Dollinger, a junior in business, described why she thinks a group such as PEER is needed on campus. “It’s astonishing that there are so many people that report to the police, and so many more that don’t,” she said.

“It’s a good thing that (PEER is doing this), because it forces women to question their safety.”

For more information about PEER or to find out about volunteer opportunities, visit www.sa.utah.edu/peer.