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Petition aims to educate about rape
Andrew Freeman / Staff Writer
A group of UNT psychology students hope to make rape crisis training a required course for hall directors, resident assistants and desk clerks. The students are creating a petition they hope the Student Government Association pass as a resolution.
A team of seven students from the Psychology of Women course made the petition to promote awareness and additional support for rape victims.
Because students in housing can be on campus 24 hours a day, the goal is to get the resident assistants and other faculty trained and prepared for a situation.
“Rape is an epidemic on college campuses at a national level,” said Patrick Turbiville, group member and phycology senior. “And unfortunately, rape is underreported by universities. Not just at UNT, but everywhere.”
According to a study of more than 5,000 college students from 100 universities by oneinfour.org, 20 percent of women had been forced to perform sexual acts against their will. The group’s website says that fewer than 5 percent of rapes are reported to authorities.
“We want to raise awareness and see these discrepancies drop,” Turbiville said. “Once the training program is enacted, hopefully that will increase awareness and the service will increase reports.”
Maureen McGuinness, Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, said safety is on the forefront of what the department does.
“From the student’s perspective, we are very hands on,” McGuinness said. “We have great relationships with the local police departments and we have lots of training available for faculty.”
The UNT Police Department offers SHARP, “Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention,” a free self-defense class offered to all UNT community members.
“The SHARP course is designed to prepare the participants to professionally control resisting subjects or survive physical assaults,” said Cpl. John DeLong of the UNT Police Department. “The classes are structured to develop techniques, competence and confidence quickly while utilizing a training methodology that includes repeated physical practice.”
According to national crime statistics, rape is the number one underreported crime in the U.S.
The group hopes to receive anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 signatures. At the time of print, the petition had 33 signatures.
The petition is also online and able to be signed electronically at gopetition.com/petitions/rapecrisisunt.html.