Red Zone: What students should know about sexual assault

Bisola Oke

Entering into the fall semester, returning Georgia Southern University students as well as incoming freshmen may not know about the Red Zone period.

According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, one in four women and one in 16 men experience sexual assault while in college.

Lauren Patterson, a therapist in the Counseling Center and a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team, said the Red Zone is the first six weeks of school when students are likely to fall prey to sexual assault offenders, but there has been some mixed research about it lately.

“Some researchers have found that students are more at risk to be sexually assaulted within the first six weeks [of school], thus the first six weeks are sometimes referred to as the ‘red zone’,” Patterson said. “However, further research has demonstrated that the risk of being sexually assaulted may not be greater in those first six weeks, so whether or not students are more at risk during those first six weeks of school is still under review.”

The SART at GS hosts sexual assault education programming which is made available throughout the entire year so that the students are constantly being exposed to ways reduce the incidence of sexual assault.

Patterson said the ultimate goal for these events is to reduce the incidence of sexual assault.

The events that are going to be held in Fall 2018 for returning GS students and incoming students to create more awareness of Red Zone include:

August:

  • Sex Signals: Hosted by SART & SASE. Monday, Aug. 20- Wednesday, Aug. 22, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. (Nessmith Lane Building)

September:

  • Speak Up, Sing Out: Hosted by SART & SASE. Thursday, Sept. 13, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. (Union Ballroom)
    • Rape Aggression Defense Course: Women only, prior registration required. Hosted by SART, Health Services, and Public Safety. Monday, Sept. 17-Wednesday, Sept 19, time TBA. (Health Services Conference Room/RAC)

October:

Sexual Assault Awareness Week, Walk A Mile In Her Shoes, Denim Day and more events will take place in the Spring 2019 semester.

“From the outcome data we have done, students do report feeling more aware and more educated on what they need to do after they attend these events,” Patterson said. “A culture of giving and receiving affirmative consent is a good thing for everyone to practice.”

Seeking help

If a victim of sexual assault would like to seek comfort and like to keep their situation confidential, Patterson said that the only place on campus that is not a responsible reporter under Title IX is the Counselling Center.

If such an individual would like to go off campus to report their case, Patterson said the Teal House, a sexual assault and child advocacy center, is the perfect place to go.

In the aspect of looking out for our friends in order to increase the safety of ourselves and our friends, “bystander intervention” and “the C.A.R.E. Acronym” is the best way to go about it, Patterson said.

Bystander intervention is the way in which an individual looks out for the well-being of another person and then intervenes when they see such a person may be in trouble or at risk of something harmful.

The C.A.R.E. Acronym:

  • C– Create a distraction. Try to get the person in trouble out of that risky situation by creating a distraction.
  • A– Ask directly. If you see any person who looks like they might be in trouble, it would be better to ask the person directly if they are okay or if they tagged along with someone.
  • R– Refer to a person in authority such as 911 or the person in charge.
  • E– Enlist others to help you and then get such a person out of the dangerous situation.

Bisola Oke, The George-Anne News Reporter, [email protected]