MU's RSVP Center talks 30 years of fighting sexual assault

5 months 2 weeks 5 days ago October 04, 2016 Oct 4, 2016 Tuesday, October 04 2016 Tuesday, October 04, 2016 2:44:00 PM CDT in News
By: Hannah Husmann, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - MU's Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center (RSVP) reviewed 30 years of working to end sexual assault Tuesday.

Representatives from MU and the Columbia community came together to celebrate RSVP's 30th birthday, but also to look back on what the group has accomplished in the past and what they hope to accomplish in the future. 

"We want to get to a point where sexual assault on campus doesn't happen," MU Women's Center Sr. Coordinator Laura Hacquard said.

RSVP Education Coordinator Kim Scates said the program's expansion since its birth in the mid-80s is important to serve the campus community.

"Power-based personal violence, unfortunately, is very common on college campuses across the nation, so universities owe it to the folks who come here to get their education to provide this kind of support and education to those who are directly and indirectly affected by violence," Scates said.

Hacquard said they've come a long way in 30 years.

"That's a time when we were all pretty naive about sexual assault on campus, but we were ahead of other schools at the time," Hacquard said.

According to MUPD's 2016 Annual Fire Safety and Security Report, 18 total rapes were reported in 2014. Six of those were on campus in student housing and 12 were off-campus. In 2015, 13 total rapes were reported, nine of which occurred on campus in student housing.

Despite the drop in reported rapes to MUPD, Scates said that doesn't mean RSVP has seen a drop as well. 

"We know that when an entity such as ours becomes more well known in a community, the number of people we see reporting violence increases. That's not because violence is happening more, it's because people have a safe place to go to talk about what's happened. Folks may feel more comfortable reporting," Scates said.

Representatives from RSVP, MU Athletics, the Boone County D.O.V.E. Unit, True North Women's Shelter and MU Student Health attended the luncheon. 

RSVP's next event is a faculty Green Dot Training Conference in November. 

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