RevolUtion spreads concern for violence

Three and a half years ago, the first and only sexual violence prevention student group at the U was formed: RevolUtion.
“RevolUtion is a student group that is dedicated to raising awareness of sexual assault, rape and other sexual offenses,” said RevolUtion group adviser, Cristina Caputo. “Our main goal is to advocate respect, consent and equality in all relationships.”
RevolUtion spreads its concern for sexual violence by performing skits and scenarios. It creates and presents problematic scenarios and encourages the audience to intervene with solutions on how to change that situation, Caputo said. She called this “ally or bystander training.” The collaborative effort is what Caputo said makes the program so impactful.
“The skits are so interactive and relatable,” Caputo said. “Students always seem engaged in the dialogue and the presentation. It’s a really powerful way to educate students.”
RevolUtion is open to performing to anyone on campus who is interested. Every year, the group performs for the Greek summit, the freshman athletes, students who live in the dorms and housing leaders. It has performed in front of classrooms, for faculty and staff and most recently performed for the college advisers. To each of these audiences, they are able to create a scenario that is most applicable to that group, making the presentation more relatable to their viewers.
RevolUtion is looking to expand and cover more social issues such as racism, sexism, sexual orientations and hate crimes, Caputo said.
“Instead of several groups sending the same message, RevolUtion wants to reach out to other groups to extend their presentations to other topics,” Caputo said.
The U can only do so much to protect students from sexual violence. The group takes it a step further, showing students common situations and how to deal with them.
Angie Makomenaw, Violence Against Women coordinator from the Women’s Resource Center, said RevolUtion is taking the right step toward educating students about sexual violence effectively.
“There are so many things a university can do to prevent sexual violence,” Makomenaw said. “A huge problem is that we live in a rape culture and it will take a systemic change to get us out of it. For many years, universities have focused on what victims can do to prevent being raped when really we need to focus on the rapists themselves. Start open dialogues on what consent is. Teach bystander intervention strategies. At this point, the U only provides for a 20-hour position with no operating funds to educate and advocate for this campus. Other universities have entire offices and personnel to devote toward educating and advocating for their students in regard to dating and sexual violence.”
According to the Office of Diversity and Human Rights, more than 300,000 women in America are raped every year. The National Institute of Justice reported women on college campuses are more susceptible to sexual offenses than women in the general population, and campuses have been referred to as “hot spots” for crime. The NIJ estimated between 20 and 25 percent of all female college students in America had experienced either completed or attempted rape.
National laws have been passed to help the cause. In 1990, Congress passed the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, which requires schools to create an annual report disclosing information about crime in and around their campuses. The act was passed after a student had been assaulted and murdered on her campus in 1986. Also, the Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights was passed in 1992, requiring schools to develop prevention policies and provide assurances to victims.
The U has taken steps to prevent sexual violence on campus and provides services to those who have been involved in sexual violence.
A brochure that thoroughly explains common types of sexual assaults and what to do if sexually assaulted is distributed among students, faculty and staff at the U. During orientations held for incoming students, time is spent informing students of the commonality and seriousness of sexual violence. At these orientations, U employees go through steps of what to do, who to call and where to go if a student is sexually assaulted on campus.
Along with that information, the U provides resources and services such as University Police, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, University Counseling Center, Women’s Resource Center, Dean of Students Office and the Student Health Center. These resources can be used to report a crime, receive medical attention because of a sexual offense or obtain the help needed to cope with being sexually assaulted.
Associate Dean of Students Lori McDonald stresses the importance of campus resources.
“The reality is that sexual violence is a serious issue on college campuses across the nation. Even one case of violence against a student or anyone in the university community is too many,” McDonald said. “Sexual misconduct can take many forms, and we hope that our students know that there are campus and community resources to support individuals who are involved in these situations. There are also a number of offices to which to report it. We encourage individuals to report any crime to law enforcement and our Department of Public Safety. There are advocates on campus who can go with someone to report to the police if they would like that type of support.”
In 2011, U security reported seven sexual offenses that had occurred on the Salt Lake City U campus and in the Residential Halls and eight total including U-owned buildings off campus and open to the public. The year before, in 2010, seven were reported. In 2009, a total of nine offenses were reported.