RAINN Day brings sexual assault awareness to CSUSM


Stephany Mejia, News and Faculty Reporter

CSUSM Student Health and Counseling Services wants to spread the word that they are an accessible campus resource to those impacted by sexual assault.


The Student Health and Counseling Center hosted RAINN Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.on Sept. 15 at the Forum Plaza to raise sexual assault awareness.


RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) is a national organization supporting sexual assault victims. It began as a hotline in 1994 and later, the website www.rainn.org was created. The organization offers help in both Spanish and English.


Organizers set up tables with white umbrellas for students to sign and pledge that they will stand up against sexual violence. Signs displayed facts about sexual assault.


Carlos Ochoa, a fifth-year CSUSM student who was working at one of the tables, said he strives to raise awareness for other students about sexual assault. Ochoa works at the Student Health Center as a Peer Educator and Marketing Coordinator.


Ochoa said that 53 percent of all survivors suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and many constantly relive the incident.


“One reason why I like doing RAINN is because not all the students know it can happen in our campus as well. It can happen to anyone,” said Ochoa.


Christa Wencl, Sexual Violence Advocate at the Student Health Center, serves as a person who students can talk in the case of a sexual assault.


A sexual assault can be reported to any university faculty member. Faculty is required to report the incident to university police, Wencl said. But, Wencl as the advocate, is not mandated to forward the report.


Wencl can also accompany the survivor to police interviews or medical examinations.


A case of sexual assault also can be reported at the University Police Department, but if the victim does not want to file criminal charges, the assault can be reported under the Title IX at the Dean of Students Office, Wencl said.


“If students, for whatever reason don’t want campus people involved, there is also off campus confidential support and that is through the Center of Communities Solutions and Women’s Resource Center,” said Wencl.


CSUSM wants its students to know that the university is supportive in case a sexual assault occurs, Wencl said.


The Student Health Center is located in Cesar Chavez Circle near the University Student Union.