The Cougar Chronicle

RAINN combats sexual assault and violence in campus community

Christina Suarez, News Reporter

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On a table outside the USU last week, students could pick up a condom, grab some lube or learn about rape and sexual violence.

 

The annual RAINN Day event, held on Sept. 13, focused on the resources available for victims and survivors of sexual assault, incest and violence.

 

RAINN which stands for Rape Abuse Incest National Network is one of the United State’s largest anti-sexual assault organizations. It started as a hotline in 1994, then as a website. It offers services in English and Spanish.

 

Student Health and Counseling Services, in collaboration with the Hope & Wellness Center, interns set up tables outside the USU.

 

RAINN Day’s array of topics gave every student information and advice on abstinence, an opportunity to talk to survivors of sexual assault, warning signs of unhealthy relationships, contraceptives and free HIV testing.

 

Event organizers fostered an environment of trust for those who may have been struggling with sexual assault and violence and other issues relating to sex, consent and emotional abuse.

 

Christa Wencl, CSUSM’s Sexual Violence Advocate and Educator, said she talks in confidence with those suffering from stalking, sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence, sexual assault and rape.

 

Wencl, who began working 15 years ago at a domestic violence shelter and a rape crisis center, said she took up this calling when sexual abuse and violence became an epidemic on college campuses.

 

RAINN day is important because “statistically speaking, the first six weeks[of college] are a high risk time,” said Wencl.

 

In addition to counseling, Wencl can arraign meetings for medical appointments, police interviews, court and University Title IX complaints.

 

The services aren’t mandatory, but are available to all students when needed.

For more information visit the Student Health and Counseling Services website at https://www.csusm.edu/ shcs/index.html or call the 24/7 National Sexual Assault hotline at (800) 656-HOPE

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