All University of Montana students to take tutorial addressing sexual violence

2012-08-24T06:25:00Z 2014-10-03T14:28:30Z All University of Montana students to take tutorial addressing sexual violenceBy MARTIN KIDSTON of the Missoulian missoulian.com
August 24, 2012 6:25 am  • 

Calling it a critical component of creating a violence-free campus, the University of Montana this week unveiled a first-of-its-kind tutorial aimed at addressing sexual violence and personal behavior.

All students attending the university will be required to watch the tutorial and pass a quiz with a score of 100 percent before registering for second semester classes.

“Evidence suggests that a one-time shot, like a lecture or a program, has an impact, but the impact reduces over time,” said Danielle Wozniak, an associate professor in the School of Social Work. “This tutorial is more than a one-time lecture. We really wanted to create a dialogue around this because that, too, becomes part of the intervention.”

Dubbed “Personal Empowerment Through Self Awareness,” or PETSA, the new tutorial marks a bold move for a university looking to end lingering myths on gender interaction and stem sexual violence by changing cultural behavior one person at a time.

Seated in her small basement office in Jeannette Rankin Hall, Wozniak played the seven short videos included in the tutorial. They focus on Montana law as it relates to rape and sexual assault, the legal definition of consent, sexual predators and America’s “rape-prone culture.”

“Many scholars warn of a rape-prone culture, where prevalent attitudes, norms and behaviors excuse, minimize and even encourage sexual violence,” the video says. “This environment creates stereotypes and beliefs about women, men, sexuality and power.”

The video also looks to stem one’s risk of being assaulted. It tells students how to speak out to protect their friends – or keep friends from making poor decisions. It shares the many options students have if they’re sexually assaulted, and it looks to debunk lingering myths surrounding rape.

“People often lie about sexual assault,” one myth suggests. The tutorial counters that the vast majority of sexual assault reports are true. Not believing a survivor can be emotionally damaging and may prevent others from coming forward.

The videos also look at the myth suggesting that provocative clothing serves as a risk factor – the “she asked for it” excuse. Wozniak said studies of predators have found that their victim’s clothing played little to no factor in the attack.

“Whether you’re wearing a short skirt or snow pants, the only risk factor is the presence of a rapist,” the video says. “Whatever the reason behind a person’s choice of a wardrobe, no one dresses to encourage an attack.”

***

The University Council on Student Assault, which Wozniak chairs, recommended in 2011 the need to educate all UM students on reducing their risk of being assaulted, or of committing “personal violence.”

Provost Perry Brown and vice president for student affairs Teresa Branch assembled a team of faculty and staff to explore new tools to tackle the subject.

Other universities had created their own training on the subject, but Wozniak said none met UM’s needs or standards.

She and Beth Hubble, co-chair of the Women and Gender Studies program, began writing the script and worked it over with a campus-wide team.

“We wanted something tailored to our needs and something based on the most current literature in sexual assault reduction and prevention,” Wozniak said. “I think what we’ve achieved has set a new national standard for this type of training.”

Not only will every UM student be required to watch the tutorial and take the quiz, but faculty and students will find room at the University Center to discuss the subjects presented in the video, which Wozniak admits will generate debate.

“We know this video can evoke strong feelings on the part of men and women,” she said. “This training is designed to create the opportunity for dialogue and discussion and to make sure we’re not silent about these issues.”

The program doesn’t mince words or shy away from the issue of sexual violence. The video comes with a warning to viewers saying, “If this tutorial feels uncomfortable, STOP and contact the Student Assault Resource Center for support.”

“The subject matter discussed in these videos could be difficult for some,” Wozniak said, citing federal statistics suggesting that one in four college women have been raped or have survived an attempted rape since their 14th birthday.

***

In a sternly delivered message opening the video, UM President Royce Engstrom warned students that anyone who engages in predatory behavior on campus will be held accountable.

“This online course addresses one of those risks – personal violence,” Engstrom said in the video. “This includes sexual assault, rape, partner violence, stalking and sexual harassment. These crimes can happen on any campus, and they have happened on ours. It’s a tough topic to address, but it’s an important one.”

According to the tutorial, 82 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows, including student peers, friends, acquaintances or family members.

Alcohol is the leading date-rape drug. Consent, the video adds, cannot be given by someone who is mentally disabled, incapacitated or physically helpless for any reason, including from alcohol, drugs, deception or coercion.

“Most of the time we think of consent in the negative,” the video says. “She didn’t say ‘no,’ scream, punch or kick. It’s more important to understand that consent is more about saying ‘yes’ than it is about saying ‘no.’ ”

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(17) Comments

  1. MiddleFinger
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    MiddleFinger - August 25, 2012 5:08 am
    You seem to be mistaking the rapes on campus for the rapes in the B-movies you are watching. While the boogieman type rapists are out there, that is not the problem at UM. The last think UM needs is a bigger power bill and a campus that looks like an Area 51 runway at night.

    Watch the tutorial vids linked above. Then wonder again if throwing lightbulbs at the problem would help.
  2. truelimegreen
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    truelimegreen - August 24, 2012 10:19 pm
    Instead of taking an intellectual approach to Missoula's rape problem how about some concrete steps such as dramatically increasing the lighting around the campus and other problem areas. Another idea is to hire several undercover young women. There must be similar steps such as these that would help curtail the problem. Just talking about the problem does not seem like the most effective approach.
  3. GaryTinkSanders
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    GaryTinkSanders - August 24, 2012 8:58 pm
    You would think that the Mothers would be beating this into their kids heads because this is an issue that primarily effects women.
  4. Tracker
    Report Abuse
    Tracker - August 24, 2012 3:37 pm
    Others have pointed out that factual oversight, but he doesn't care.
  5. history
    Report Abuse
    history - August 24, 2012 3:27 pm
    Perhaps the football players will get personal tutors for this test.
  6. Huxley
    Report Abuse
    Huxley - August 24, 2012 2:17 pm
    There is a difference between an honestly made, yet ultimately false identification and a wholly fabricated report of rape, i.e. there is a difference between a woman who was in fact raped, but misidentifies her attacker as opposed to a woman who simply made up the attack. It's not clear from your post that you understand this distinction although it was clearly indicated in both the article and the referenced study...
  7. Rcreeker
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    Rcreeker - August 24, 2012 11:18 am
    Exactly, and make that football team take this quiz twice. Now everyone knows the rules of conduct and if you mess up, the U taught you proper conduct and is now released of all liability in sexual assault cases.... I like how this world works, Brilliant!
  8. Bob
    Report Abuse
    Bob - August 24, 2012 10:26 am
    These days and in this culture and esp now in this town, the only safe play is not to play. Im not sayin wait til marriage but I would wait until my degree is in my hand then get the heck out of here.
  9. Click Here
    Report Abuse
    Click Here - August 24, 2012 10:10 am
    Walter, I'm a father at home and you're a mother....
  10. Pistol
    Report Abuse
    Pistol - August 24, 2012 9:56 am
    This article states all students must test 100% before being accepted for the second semester classes. What does that mean? Just what it says? A student is straight A in there classes, and about to graduate, and doesn't score 100% on this test can't finish the school year? Are you kidding me? Another example of a stupid decision by Engstrom. This guy's only been president for about 18 months, and he is making one bad decision after another. Board of Regents get rid of this guy. I have been told enrollment is down, and football is in a state of limbo. Look at the rumor of UM playing Washington in football. Why not wait, and hire a new AD first before setting a schedule? Why was Delaney given an extension before hiring the AD? Answer! Engstrom is going to micro manage the athletic department. The legislature is meeting next winter, and if enrollment is down, and sexual investigation by DOJ or NCAA points a finger at UM, good luck with funding.
  11. Kahlotus
    Report Abuse
    Kahlotus - August 24, 2012 9:14 am
    So, in other words, 70% of the time, the rape allegation is valid. You obviously have some serious problems with women which would explain why you take out your sexual frustrations by killing animals. I'm sure killing things somehow serves as a substitute for the power you seek over others.
  12. jennykate131
    Report Abuse
    jennykate131 - August 24, 2012 8:20 am
    Well it's sad that by the time some get to college they have to partake in a tutorial on how to behave because they were never taught how... I have noticed that the parents of this generation of young people are severely lacking the compentience of raising children into good people. Not all of them, but take a look around.
  13. compounder
    Report Abuse
    compounder - August 24, 2012 8:06 am
    I took the test... didn't bother to watch any of the videos and still got 100%. Honestly, if this stuff isn't obvious to you then you're too dumb to go to college. But with the UofM's goals of accepting anyone, retaining everyone and bs'ing about maintaining standards, what could go wrong?
  14. Roger
    Report Abuse
    Roger - August 24, 2012 7:28 am
    I see that people at UM are disseminating false information, for example that it's a myth that people (women) often lie about sexual assault. Well, a 30% rate of false accusation isn't "often", it's quite frequent.

    Some relevant information comes from a 1996 study published by the U.S. Department of Justice: "Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science: Case Studies in the Use of DNA Evidence to Establish Innocence After Trial."

    The study documents 28 cases which, "with the exception of one young man of limited mental capacity who pleaded guilty," consist of individuals who were convicted by juries and, then, later exonerated by DNA tests. At the time of release, they had each served an average of 7 years in prison.

    The passage that rivets attention was a quote from Peter Neufeld and Barry C. Scheck, prominent criminal attorneys and co-founders of the Innocence Project that seeks to release those falsely imprisoned.

    They stated, "Every year since 1989, in about 25 percent of the sexual assault cases referred to the FBI where results could be obtained, the primary suspect has been excluded by forensic DNA testing. Specifically, FBI officials report that out of roughly 10,000 sexual assault cases since 1989, about 2,000 tests have been inconclusive, about 2,000 tests have excluded the primary suspect, and about 6,000 have "matched" or included the primary suspect."

    The authors continued, "these percentages have remained constant for 7 years, and the National Institute of Justice's informal survey of private laboratories reveals a strikingly similar 26 percent exclusion rate."

    If the foregoing results can be extrapolated, then the rate of false reports is roughly between 20 (if DNA excludes an accused) to 40 percent (if inconclusive DNA is added). The relatively low estimate of 25 to 26 percent is probably accurate, especially since it is supported by other sources.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,194032,00.html
  15. LilyVonShtupp
    Report Abuse
    LilyVonShtupp - August 24, 2012 7:20 am
    But he was STERN. That'll show 'em.

    How about instead of telling women "Don't get raped" we tell men "DON'T RAPE WOMEN"!
  16. walter12
    Report Abuse
    walter12 - August 24, 2012 7:09 am
    Any 15 year old boy should already know this stuff backward and forward. Oh, I forgot, this is the generation that has no fathers at home.
  17. GideonJones
    Report Abuse
    GideonJones - August 24, 2012 5:57 am
    And still not a word to the guys about not raping women.
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