Coming to Ohio University in the Fall of 2014, a new program looks to open the doors to awareness throughout the campus. “Unless there is Consent” is an online program that will be required for all incoming freshmen that discusses sexual assault awareness, prevention of sexual assault and obtaining consent.
The process has been quite a long one — over two years — but it is now finally here.
“There are conversations to be had with both men and women,” said Susanne B. Dietzel, Ph.D., director of the Women’s Center.
“Unless there is Consent” will have segments collectively for both sexes; however, it will also include individual segments for each sex. The overall goal of this online program is to inform freshmen preemptively of sexual assault and surrounding issues. Brenda Strickland, program coordinator of the Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program (OUSAP), stresses the importance of the first six weeks for incoming freshmen.
Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes, and with this program, Dietzel hopes to see sexual assault occurrences on campus go down and reports go up. The goal is not only to prevent sexual assault but to also educate and create a safe environment on campus in which victims are comfortable enough to report assaults.
“I think it’s a good program, and it depends on how we present it and how we offer it,” Strickland said. “I’m sure that it will take a while for students to become accustomed to taking this… it’s an uncomfortable topic for anyone.”
There is great anticipation in the air for the implementation of this program. “Lets start talking about sex,” Dietzel said. “I’m very excited that students will be exposed to this.”