UI expands rape education

By Tracy Douglas

Campus Acquaintance Rape Education (CARE) does a lot more than just the mandatory workshops for University freshmen.

Coordinator of Sexual Assault Education Ross Wantland said CARE helps coordinate most sexual assault education on campus for students, resident advisors or faculty members.

This spring, CARE will expand to encompass more workshops and activism. Wantland said it will be a more student-driven effort.

CARE facilitators Laura Deffley, senior in LAS, and Dan Mollison, sophomore in LAS, are leaders of the expansion project. Deffley said CARE is currently administered through the Office of Women’s Programs. She said facilitators run First-Year CARE (FY CARE) workshops for freshmEn, but some have expressed interest in having more workshops. She said the group is adding a registered student organization component.

“I think it is important that we actively do something besides workshops,” Deffley said.

Deffley and Mollison are thinking about having mini-workshops in the dorms focused on healthy relationships and hosting fundraisers for groups like the Rape Crisis Services and the Crisis Nursery, Deffley said. Mollison said the fundraiser could include a card that people can purchase to support CARE. The card would be sponsored by local businesses.

Mollison said they are also working with the Greek Council to develop workshops for fraternities and sororities. He said they also want to create a support community for those who have been affected by sexual assault.

“We want to spread general sexual-assault awareness on campus that is not in a workshop setting,” Mollison said. He added that they might put posters on buses and bulletin boards in the dorms.

He said he teaches the classes related to the CARE program – Community Health 199B, the class that facilitators take prior to applying to be a facilitator, the Fraternity Peer Rape Education Program (F PREP) and a follow-up class for facilitators who want to start their own workshops.

Wantland said the mandatory workshops began after Maria Pia Gratton was raped and murdered on campus on October 31, 1995. In the fall of 1996, the University offered the first FY CARE workshops.

Wantland said the University is unique for its program and is a leader in the field.

“It is my understanding that the scope and intimacy is unique. Some have a big speech and some offer voluntary workshops,” Wantland said.

CARE program leaders are sometimes invited to other schools to present how the University’s program works, he said. Wantland said they have gone to the University of Mississippi at Oxford and colleges in the Atlanta area. Wantland is working on helping Michigan State University start a similar program, he said.

Laura Bidwill, senior in LAS and a CARE facilitator, said the fall workshops start the week after Labor Day and last until the second week in November. She said the group also offers workshops in the spring for those who missed the fall programs.

Bidwill became a facilitator this Fall. She said became a facilitator because she started to notice certain signs in her friends that led her to believe that they might have been victims of rape.

“I became affected by it,” Bidwill said. “I always thought addressing rape was important.”

Mollison said he became a facilitator this semester because he wanted to do more to address sexual assault.

“The CARE class is very eye-opening … There is more to be done, and I like to put in my time,” Mollison said.