Lindenwood University students and faculty members on Thursday attempted to drag the issues of domestic abuse and sexual violence out into the light.
A debate on the topic of date rape took place on the campus during the noon hour, silhouettes representing domestic violence victims were placed all around the property and a candle light vigil for victims of violence was planned for the evening hours.
It’s all part of the school’s observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness month, which is October.
“What this is all about is providing a platform for students to discuss the issue of sexual violence and domestic abuse,” retired St. Clair County judge and Lindenwood professor Annette Eckert said. “A lot of young women and men are away from home for the first time when they go to college. It’s an appropriate time to talk about ways they can stay out of danger.”
Eckert said, especially on college campuses, women who aren’t careful can find themselves in dangerous situations.
“People need to be aware of their surroundings and know what to look out for,” Eckert said. “But getting these issues out in the open and talking about them, hopefully it will help people learn how to protect themselves.”
According to Eckert, national statistics indicate one in four college-aged women is confronted with a date rape situation.
People need to be aware of their surroundings and know what to look out for. But getting these issues out in the open and talking about them, hopefully it will help people learn how to protect themselves.
Retired St. Clair County judge and Lindenwood professor Annette Eckert
Eckert said young people need to educate themselves about the following:
▪ Being aware of their surroundings. That includes not just where they are, but who they are with. Young people tend to be trusting of strangers, Eckert said. But they need to make sure they don’t end up in private with someone they don’t know well enough to trust.
▪ Knowing how drugs and alcohol affect them. “They can create an environment where people do things they otherwise might not,” Eckert said.
▪ Seeking healthy relationships. Don’t be pressured into doing things to fit in or gain social approval.
▪ Communicating clearly. “Make sure you understand each other,” Eckert said. “You have to be clear on if you’re giving a red light or a green light.”
The debate between two male and two female students discussed the issue of consent.
According to senior Madison Taylor of Belleville, over time the phrase “Let’s watch Netflix and chill” has morphed from it’s literal meaning of watching a movie online and hanging out to become a euphemism for “let’s go have sex.”
“If a guy asks you if you want to watch Netflix and chill you might just want to watch a movie,” Taylor said. “But the guy might have something else on his mind. It could really be an issue of someone getting themselves into a bad situation, because they don’t know what they’re agreeing to.”
Shauntey James, associate professor of criminal justice, said the best way to stop date rape and sexual violence is to be alert and to communicate.
“What we’re trying to do is provide a platform for students,” James said. “When people feel comfortable to talk and we get things into the open, that’s when we can solve problems.”