It’s not the victim’s fault; Women’s Studies brings awareness to sexual assault

The Women Studies program continued its trend of hosting informative and exciting events with its “Sexual Assault on College Campuses” presentation on November 11 in Peck Hall.

The presentation featured speaker Traice Webb, psychologist with SIUE counseling services, addressing issues related to sexual assault.

Linda Markowitz, chair of the Women’s Studies program and professor of sociology and criminal justice studies, organized the event.

“I think [this presentation] can make students more aware. I know that Dr. Webb, for example, is part of a sexual assault awareness task force on campus,” said Markowitz.

A goal of this task force, according to Markowitz, is to raise awareness of sexual assault so that more victims will report these crimes.

“Most of the people who are sexually assaulted do not report it because we [society] have a real ‘blame the victim’ mentality” explained Markowitz. “For most groups – particularly women – they are taught that their sexuality is the cause of their assault so they don’t report it. Dr. Webb tries to create the awareness for students and have the discussion that it is not the victim’s fault so that perhaps victims will report [sexual assault].”

Markowitz hopes that students who attended this and other women’s studies events walk away armed with the knowledge to protect themselves and others.

“Dr. Webb provides a social context for [discussing] sexual assault on campuses. So she doesn’t talk about it as an individual behavior. She understands that issues of gender and sexuality are involved. She talks a little about sexism, racism and homophobia and how these things might influence sexual assault,” said Markowitz. “I know her goal is to help students become aware of what sexual assault means so that they can try to prevent it.”

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