Senior Features Writer
Trigger Warning: This article discusses different forms of sexual violence, including assault.
Last Sunday night, Kappa Epsilon Zeta (KEZ), Delta Theta Psi (Thetas) and OneEighty hosted an event about sexual assault, titled “Support and Care After Sexual Violence for Greek Life.” This event was part of a series by KEZ and Thetas that focused on how Greek life can acknowledge and aim to fix issues in the Greek community. Past events approached how the Greek community at the College can be more anti-racist and inclusive of varied sexualities and gender identities. The event on Sunday was a presentation by OneEighty, with a forum for questions led by Maresa Taté ’21, the outgoing President of KEZ, and Kennedy Bell ’21, the outgoing Sexual Health Representative of KEZ. Members from Theta also helped organize the event, including outgoing president Megan Gronau ’21, incoming president Camille Carr ’22 and Co-Diversity Chair Olivia Friedman ’22.
Taté stated that this discussion is long overdue. “There are a lot of conversations about consent, how to seek professional help from The College and other resources, sharing stories of abuse, but rarely do we have conversations about how to support someone after they have experienced any form of sexual violence.”
Bell noted that the format for this event was different from the past ones because a presentation fit better with the subject matter. “We worried about people accidently ‘retaliating’ by speaking about their experiences or the experiences of others and, therefore, losing their [Title IX] cases or that having an event where we specifically called out experiences may be traumatizing for the audience.” Carr instead suggested something more like a community care event that would teach attendees how to support their siblings who are dealing with sexual violence.
The event kicked off with an introduction to OneEighty, along with an introduction of the staff present at the event. Among the staff present were coordinators and advocates. The advocates served as support people during the session, available for one-on-one sessions with attendees in breakout rooms. OneEighty is located in Wooster and Millersburg, Oh., and it provides help with addiction, mental health services and resources for those who have experienced sexual and domestic abuse.
The presenters from OneEighty gave basic information on statistics surrounding sexual violence, both on the problem as a whole and specifically about college-aged people. They also involved students by asking various questions about the statistics. One question focused on why survivors decide to not report. The attendees gave many reasons, from victim blaming to the lack of safety in reporting.
After this, OneEighty gave more info about the process of reporting, including info about hospital exams and the varied emotions survivors have after an assault. This then went into a discussion about how people can support those who went through this traumatic event. This discussion included the many resources OneEighty has to offer.
This presentation led to a Q&A for OneEighty workers, specifically about what Greek life at Wooster can do about the issue of sexual violence. Questions concerned what Greek life can do to support survivors and what they should do to prevent it in the first place. Attendees also discussed what organizations can do to discuss this issue more, since it is not discussed enough.
Cara Seamount Aaron ’22 and Tim Cotter ’22, agreed that the presenters gave a lot of valuable information and that OneEighty did a great job educating the students. Sydney Barger ’21, had different thoughts on the event. She noted that not many of the participants involved in Greek life spoke, even though Greek life at Wooster has a history of hazing activities that are harmful to survivors and some Greek groups are still involved with “underground” groups that have a history of assault.
This event was a step in the right direction, but as Barger mentioned, the College and Greek life need to do more. Events like these are a good start to a discussion around assault, but it is up to the administration and students to do more.