This past month the University of Dallas hosted a variety of events in light of Sexual Assault Prevention Month.
Students were invited to participate in the “Man to Man” and “Woman to Woman” discussions which were held in Madonna and Jerome Hall Lounges respectively, as well as the screening of “The Dating Project” and a self-defense class led by Arlington Police Corporal Charles Fernandez.
In addition to new events, the month-long movement recently underwent a name change.
“A student group was convened in February to discuss Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” wrote Seth Oldham, director of student affairs, in an email. “Out of that discussion came several ideas, as well as the desire to change it from an ‘awareness’ month to a ‘prevention’ month to focus more on how students can prevent assault from occurring.”
Oldham had also previously informed students in another email of a change in policy regarding sexual violence:
“Following the completion and publication of the Student Handbook, the State of Texas delivered new regulations concerning Title IX and sexual violence on college campuses. The attached Personal and Sexual Violence Policy supersedes the policy in the handbook (pages 48-61),” wrote Oldham in an email sent out to students. “As a point of emphasis, a Good Samaritan policy is now included in the sexual violence policy. In other words, unless you are the assailant, the University may not take disciplinary action against students who make good faith reports of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking.”
The 2017-2018 student handbook describes sexual assault as rape, fondling, incest and statutory rape. Consent is defined as “unambiguous and voluntary,” occurring without inference based on previous relationships, physical appearance, etc. In any sexual activity, participants must give verbal consent for every action, and “incapacitated” individuals are not able to give consent.
Dr. Matthew Post, assistant dean and affiliate assistant professor of the Braniff graduate school, spoke at an event titled “Sex and Language,” in which he discussed consent and sexual assault.
“These advocates of greater awareness may argue that if someone feels social pressure at a party to have sex, this is not just the equivalent of rape; it is rape,” wrote Post in an email. “However, if we refuse to draw a distinction between social pressure and violence, we risk belittling the acts of men like Harvey Weinstein. And, by the same token, if we draw too hard a distinction between social pressure and the violence, insisting that such violence and only such violence constitutes sexual assault, we risk belittling acts that are less severe but nonetheless quite damaging.”