Addressing Sexual Violence on Campus and in our Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2014

Addressing sexual violence on campus has been a hot topic across the nation and locally. The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault released their first report, Not Alone, at the end of April. Although the University of Oregon has taken steps to address this issue, such as creating a Sexual Violence Response & Support Services Coordinator position, a new website on preventing and reporting sexual violence, and a new Violence Response Team at the UO counseling center, they can do better.

The University can and must do more to support survivors and create a safe environment. As the White House Task Force’s report points out “[s]chools should identify trained, confidential victim advocates who can provide emergency and ongoing support.” Students should have access to confidential support and individuals who will put the needs of survivors first and foremost. While the new University position plays an important role in supporting survivors and creating change on campus, it is not a confidential resource for survivors. In fact, currently the only confidential people on campus are those who have legal privilege, such as counselors in the University Counseling and Testing Center.

The White House report also recognizes the importance of having services available 24 hours a day as well as advocates who can accompany survivors to medical and legal appointments. While campus staff can support survivors within the university system, there are many resources available outside of the university that should be made available to survivors. Given that it is estimated that one in five women is sexually assaulted in college, and the UO has approximately 25,000 students enrolled, it is fair to estimate that approximately 5,000 students will experience sexual violence during their time at UO. It is not reasonable to assume that one or even two staff positions can effectively respond to this level of need 24 hours a day and support students in accessing all of the medical, legal, and other services available off campus to survivors.

The Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO) has contracted with Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) for over 10 years to provide free, confidential support and advocacy services to students who experience sexual violence. This is a critical component of the University’s response and support system, as SASS advocates are independent of the University system and all services are free and confidential. Unfortunately, due to legal concerns the UO administration had about a campus-specific position proposed and approved by the students, the ASUO contract with SASS for the 2013-2014 school year was held up for over 10 months, which has seriously impacted our ability to provide the services that the students wanted and needed. Again, the White House Task Force recognizes that reimbursing rape crisis centers for their services is a best practice, and we applaud the ASUO for implementing this practice long before this report. We hope that the contract for the 2014-2015 school year that the students approved will not face similar delays.

It is also our hope that the University would include SASS on their independent panel that will be reviewing the campus climate and making recommendations. SASS staff have an understanding of the larger systems within the community as well as access to information and resources about best and emerging practices for responding to survivors of sexual violence. If the University truly wants to support survivors and create change, it is important for SASS to be part of this process.

Sexual Assault Support Services has served survivors in Lane County since 1991. SASS’ services include a 24-hour crisis and support line, drop-in advocacy and support, medical and legal accompaniment and advocacy, support groups, and outreach and education.

For more information, contact:

BB Beltran, Executive Director, at 541-484-9791.

 

Spring Volunteer Training starts April 28th

Our next volunteer training will begin Monday, April 28th. Our Direct Service Training puts sexual violence into a political and social context. It is required for all volunteers. You must complete all the trainings on the schedule before you can do direct service, and the first two weeks must be completed in whole before advancing.

Upon completion of the Volunteer Training, each trainee will go through an informal two-way interview with a SASS staff member. This is an opportunity to ask questions of and give feedback to each other. Together we will discuss your interests and skills, and our additional training requirements necessary for you to move from a trainee to a regular volunteer. We also have a process of shadowing and supported on-the-job training for each volunteer job description. You will always be able to receive mentoring as a volunteer at SASS and in time you may become a mentor to newer volunteers.

Each new volunteer training is exciting for the current volunteers and staff because new volunteers (you!) bring new ideas, expertise and energy. The rewards of volunteering at SASS are many. You will have the opportunity to meet new people, to work with others towards a common goal, to acquire new skills, to offer services to survivors, and to network with other community agencies. In return SASS encourages initiative, dedication and responsibility on the part of the trainee/volunteer so that we may offer the best possible services to survivors and do the most effective work for social change. If you are willing to make an effort on behalf of yourself and others, you will find that you are very welcome here and that your work makes a difference.

To join our Spring training,  register online or download the training packet and fill out and return the last page.

For more information, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at:

541-484-9791 ext. 306

volunteer (at) sass-lane.org

Eat, Drink and Support SASS During April!

It’s easy to support SASS during April.  Go to these businesses on the designated day and they will donate a portion of the proceeds from your purchase to SASS.

oakshire_crest_logoWednesday, March 26th (ok, it’s not April but you can still support SASS)
Oakshire Inspires with live music from Nestler & Hawtin 5-7pm
Oakshire Public House, 207 Madison St., Eugene
$1 from every pint sold will be donated to SASS

 

ninkasiThursday, April 3rd from 5-9pm
Pints for a Cause: Celebrate Consent with live music from TASTE
Ninkasi Brewery, 272 Van Buren St., Eugene
25% of all pint sales will be donated to SASS!

 

sweet_lifeFriday, Saturday & Sunday, April 4th, 5th & 6th
Sweet Life Desserts, 755 Monroe St., Eugene
25% of proceeds from SAAM cupcakes will be donated to SASS!

 

red_wagonThursday, April 10th
Red Wagon Creamery, 55 West Broadway, Eugene
15% of sales with a flyer will be donated to SASS!
Download flyer

 

papas pizzaMonday, April 14th
Papa’s Pizza, 700 West 11th Ave., Eugene
50% of food purchased with the flyer will be donated to SASS!
Download flyer

 

dickie_josWednesday & Thursday, April 16th & 17th
Dickie Jo’s, across from Valley River Center in Eugene
25% of the value of your purchase with the flyer will be donated to SASS!
Download flyer

 

track_townMonday, April 21st
Track Town Pizza, 1809 Franklin Blvd., Eugene
50% of food purchased with the flyer will be donated to SASS!
Download flyer

 

hop_valleyTuesday, April 22nd from 5-8pm
Hop Valley Tasting Room, 990 W 1st St., Eugene
$1 from every pint sold will be donated to SASS!
Enjoy live music from various blue grass musicians.

 

 

Thank You to Our Community Supporters Like TASTE!

Taste

Taste

Support from community members like the Eugene-based soul/R&B band, TASTE, enables SASS to continue providing high quality services for the hundreds of survivors we assist each month.  Last year TASTE donated the proceeds from several of their performances to SASS.  Thank you for giving back to the community and supporting survivors!

Find out more about TASTE on their Facebook page.