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Los Angeles
Monday, August 2, 2021

Support rape prevention, response

“In 2000, the Sexual Victimization of College Women survey estimated that a college with 10,000 students could expect more than 350 rapes per year to occur on that campus.”This alarming statistic did not come from our research, but rather from the Pierce College Web site, where it informs students about sexual violence and their options should an attack occur.Still, despite the fact that Pierce promotes the reporting of such crimes and a Campus Violence Response Team (CVRT) is in place to support any campus victim, with a student population that has risen to just more than 18,000, these efforts are incomplete.Last week this paper reported that while CVRT leader Kathy Oborn and her team are available to help, there is no 24-hour response system in place and they do not have a common location where a victim can go. Imagine being attacked or raped, turning to your school for help, and being directed to a voicemail and waiting for someone to be able to get back to you. How is that the best we can do?We applaud the efforts of the CVRT members, who have admitted that the plan is not perfect and that they would love to have a better system in place to guide victims of sexual attack, but perhaps there is a way that we as a college community can improve the support network.There has only been one reported rape on the Pierce campus in recent years, in 2001, and numbers for neighboring schools in the L.A. Community College District are also low compared with the terrifying estimate the Web site reports. Perhaps by pooling the resources of our sister schools for this effort, we could establish a 24-hour response.Surely we can create at the very least an on-call system so that someone is available to be paged at all times of day and night. While it does happen, rape does not always occur during business hours.We need to put a hotline in place and make the number more accessible to students. Sexual violence does affect men, but is more often than not perpetrated against women. Let’s make sure that every woman on this campus knows what to do. Put in number in every bathroom and on every bulletin on campus.In addition to providing a response to the violence, let us also encourage prevention, through education workshops and perhaps self-defense seminars on-campus and available to students.On a campus this large, how can the CVRT not have a permanent location? We have empty offices, classrooms and formerly used trailers and bungalows everywhere. We have an unused trailer right next door to the Roundup: please, come and use it.Pierce faculty and staff are making a valiant effort to assist students in a time of need.Let’s do everything we can to support that effort.

(Cesar Maguina)

The Roundup News
The Roundup is the student-run news outlet at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.

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