Community comes together against sexual assault
The It’s On Us campaign seeks to increase sexual assault awareness through specialized events. | Marika Adamopoulos/THE CHIMES
Several events are being held from April 25 to April 29 to educate students on the reality of sexual assault on Biola’s campus.
Acknowledging Sexual Assault
Student Programs and Activities has come alongside the It’s On Us campaign to acknowledge sexual assault awareness month by organizing events that provide students with knowledge and resources on how to respond to these traumatic experiences.
The week kicked off with a video announcement released on social media April 18, inviting students, faculty and staff to take part in the events of the coming week.
A taskforce behind the organization of these events every day of the week consists of 13 people from faculty and students. These events include chapels which specifically address the many aspects of the issue, a spoken word workshop, a prayer walk through campus and a special Rape Aggression Defense session.
The events were chosen to help students acknowledge these attacks happen at Biola. This will be done by providing resources and tools to help those directly and indirectly affected understand how to report an attack and provide a theological background for healing and coping.
“We really wanted to engage the entire community at Biola on the topic, create some awareness yes, but also give resourcing, help people understand definitions, and understand how they can play a role in ending and preventing violence against men and women who are assaulting,” said Laura Igram, director of student programs and activities.
Drawing Students' Attention
Visual displays have also been set up around the campus to draw students’ attention to the realities of this issue.
T-shirts were strung on a clothesline in front of Sutherland showing real stories and confessions of female survivors of sexual assault. The Clothesline Project is displayed on college campuses across the nation.
Students have also noticed tiny yellow dots covering half of Metzger Lawn. These are pinwheels that portray the number of students who will likely be assaulted during their four years of undergraduate studies at Biola. Statistics show that one in five females and one in 16 males will be victims, resulting in 804 pinwheels on display.
“These are visual reminders that even though the reality of sexual assault is often invisible to many of us, it still persists here,” said Chase Andre, adjunct communications professor and member of the taskforce.
Recognizing the Issue
Andre points out the importance of recognizing this issue, especially at Biola. He explains that there are different societal norms and mindsets on a Christian campus versus a secular campus, which makes the Biola community unaware of unheard voices.
“We looked at the reality of sexual assault on college campus. We also looked at the reality that it happens here and one of the biggest causes of concerns is how often it goes unreported,” Andre said. “If it goes unreported in secular institutions where partying or alcohol or even just sexual relationships are more commonplace or just expected...it might be reported even less often in a Christian university where those are not the expectation or the norm of the college experience.”
One of the events, a R.A.D session held on Wednesday night, provided a chance for women to learn how to defend themselves against an attacker. The event was held by Chief John Ojeisekhoba of Campus Safety and was attended by seven female students. These classes are offered for credit each semester.
“The goal today was to share some awareness concepts so that it doesn’t get into a situation where a female would have to defend herself. But if it does get to that point, we taught some skills...that can become a viable option for a female that is attacked,” Ojeisekhoba said.