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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After incidents, women’s center tries to raise awareness

The Women’s Resource and Research Center is working to raise awareness on campus dealing with sexual assault and battery charges that were reported in previous semesters.

The WRRC is a safe spot for students to escape to when needed. They offer a place to go for peer counseling and referrals to other major resources as well as a place to study and make new friends.

“Last semester the student volunteers got training on what to do when a student comes in with a crisis. That was the first time we did that professionally,” said WRRC director and CSUN women’s studies professor Dr. Breny Mendoza.

The center offers meetings, workshops and support groups throughout the semester along with other events and keynote speakers.

To kick off the semester with new and old students and volunteers, the center has scheduled a welcome back party on Feb. 8 from 12 to 2 p.m. An open house will also be held on Feb. 12 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and with Women’s History Month quickly approaching, the center has many other events scheduled in the coming months, including the annual Take Back the Night rally.

According to Ayu Nishikawa, the assistant director of the WRRC and senior women’s studies major, the center is working with the police department to arrange self-defense classes, possibly on a monthly basis.

CSUN also offers self-defense classes called RAD, which stands for Rape, Aggression and Defense Training. Classes are held four days a week for three hours a day and cost $10.

The WRRC is not to be mistaken as a place only for women. The employees at the center deal with all gender issues and encourage men to participate.

“People see women in women’s studies and think that that means they hate men and they are mean, but in reality we are just trying to bring everyone together and create a balance,” Nishikawa said.

“If men do not hear us then nothing will change. It is a good place for both men and women,” she said.

The center has been operating since 1976, helping women and men with an array of issues, including assault, domestic violence, sexually transmitted diseases, other health problems and more.

Nishikawa has been volunteering with the WRRC for the past two years and working more regularly as assistant director for a year.

“I helped out a lot last year during the Take Back the Night rally, and the assistant director then like me and so did the director, so when she left I took her place,” Nishikawa said.

According to the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Report, the number of reported rapes in the residence community has declined since 2004. Conversely, sexual battery charges on campus have more than doubled from the three cases in 2004 to seven cases in 2005.

“Overall the numbers reflect that there has been a decrease, but what is important to keep in mind is that sexual assault is the least reported crime so even though the numbers say two reports we can say that most likely there has been more,” said Christina Villalobos, special assistant to the chief of police and spokesperson for the Crime Prevention and Community Relations Unit.

According to Villalobos, the same goes for when there are jumps in the statistics. Because of the police department’s attempts to raise awareness and knowledge on campus, students may be more encouraged and inclined to report the crimes.

If you are interested in volunteering at the WRRC, it is located at the corner of Plummer and Darby Streets. The center’s phone number is (818) 677-2780.

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