Universities take new initiatives to combat sexual assault on campus

Loyola University Photo
Loyola University Photo

New Orleans universities implement new initiatives to combat sexual violence on campus, as research shows one in five women in college are sexually assaulted.

"It's a violation. It's a violation of yourself and your body, and it's something you feel like is out of your control," said Alison CoFrancesco, a student counselor at Loyola University.

Working with students, CoFrancesco has seen the frequency and heart-breaking aftermath of sexual violence.

"Once they've experienced this type of violence, it feels like the control has been taken away from them," said CoFrancesco. "So, first and foremost, we want to empower them as much as possible."

The continued goal is to empower victims, but also to empower bystanders with the knowledge of how to intervene.

"When I go out I don't think it's going to happen to me ever, but I think I'm careful," said Taylor Cohen, a sophomore at Tulane University.

Before the first classes began, Tulane offered the chance for faculty, staff, parents and students to learn more.

"Tulane's put together an array of orientation and training sessions for students. We want them to be aware of the resources to help them," said Tulane University Provost Michael Bernstein.

For the first time, the university will ask all of its students about their experiences in a survey at the end of the semester in order to learn what resources worked and what else is needed.

"Everybody on the campus is responsible for this issue. It's not just a student issue, it's a university issue," explained Bernstein.

To educate the public and to support victims, Loyola University invites everyone to participate in the "Take Back the Night" march on Wednesday, Oct. 29.

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