The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Project D.A.T.E. Raises Awareness of Sexual Assault On Campus

Ouanessa Nana
Project D.A.T.E. hosted a tabling event in the middle of the quad on Oct. 24 in Northridge, Calif.

Project D.A.T.E., a student-run group devoted to raising awareness of sexual assault at CSUN, hosted a tabling event on Oct. 24th in the middle of the quad next to the Matador Statue. This is all a part of their annual campus-wide event, which is part of a national campaign called “It’s On Us” that seeks to end sexual assault.

Project D.A.T.E. is a rape prevention program for college campuses that is sponsored by CSUN’s University Counseling Services and Strength United. This project helps peer educators communicate with students about the psychological and cultural aspects associated with sexual assault. Its goal is to create a community of students who are aware that assault is an issue on campus and to teach students to recognize signs of sexual abuse, so it is prevented.

“We’re a student organization, a peer education program that works with the university’s counseling services,” program coordinator Bailey Wukmir said.

Project D.A.T.E. has a multitude of resources that students can choose from. There are videos, blogs, and presentations on their website about getting access to help, mindful exercises, social change and more. Additionally, it also provides mental health screenings and a link to emergency and urgent care assistance. Project D.A.T.E. gives presentations on campus and wellness events to spread awareness. These workshops include informing students about healthy relationships and consent as well as trauma-informed yoga sessions. These yoga sessions focus on poses that fit the needs and symptoms of survivors. It has a self-regulating design, being able to control strong emotions, that increases the body’s consciousness of a sense of safety and grounding.

As mentioned in the Project D.A.T.E. pamphlet that was handed out at the event, 90% of rape and sexual assault cases that occur on campuses include the use of alcohol by the attacker, the victim or both.

CSUN’s annual security report shows that over the last three years there have been eight reports of aggravated assault, 10 reported cases of rape in on-campus housing, and 12 reported cases of rape on campus in total. There were also two reports of statutory rape, one on campus and one outside of campus.

“Our sole job is to prevent it from happening on campus by educating students,” Bailey Wukmir expressed. They are promoting a safe environment free of sexual assault at CSUN. Education is a way to hold students accountable in knowing all forms of sexual misconduct. To that end, CSUN’s Office of Equity and Diversity also offers a booklet called the Rights and Options for Survivors so people on campus can know what their options are.

Project D.A.T.E. is also linked with two other peer education programs. J.A.D.E. (Joint Advocates on Disordered Eating) focuses on educating students on eating disorders, while The Blues Project focuses on depression education and suicide prevention.

“We advocate different resources on campus and one of them is the CSUN police,” Peer Educator and President of Project D.A.T.E., Zoe Ramaekers said. “We can help you in any way, and we’re here to listen.”

Even though sexual assault is a widespread problem, many do not receive any education on it. Most of the peer educators that are a part of Project D.A.T.E. learned about consent in college. According to a study about on-campus sexual assault of around 1,152 men who attend colleges across the state, 45% of the participants did not receive any form of sexual assault prevention instruction before attending college.

“We want to be able to create a safe space where students can come and talk about their experiences and not feel ashamed,” student coordinator Angel Tizando said.

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