Well Being

Ahead Of The Curve: University Of Montana Mandates Rape & Sexual Assault Quiz For Students

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college studentsThe University of Montana has been in trouble in the past year. In fact, the Federal Department of Justice launched an investigation into the school for multiple accusations of sexual assault on campus. The school obviously had to find a way to increase knowledge and awareness about the problems of sexual violence and rape. And they've started that process by requiring all students to watch an online video tutorial about assault and score 100% on the accompanying quiz.

I have to say, I'm happy to see that they aren't simply writing out press releases of lip service about their commitment. They aren't just throwing rules in guidebooks and never looking at them again. The school is forcing students to get engaged. It's making them at least think about sexual assault for even a short period of time. And let's face it, that's a lot more than most schools are doing right now.

The mixture of lots of young people, plenty of stress, and more than a little alcohol has made college campuses particularly dangerous in terms of sexual violence. It's important that students realize these issues and learn how what's appropriate behavior and what type of support they'll have should something horrible happen. (No, I'm not going to say that women need to learn how to “stay safe.”)

The video itself is 20 minutes long and includes multiple videos like, “facts and myths,” “what you should know,” “a rape prone culture,” and “risk reduction for everyone.” The fact that they include “for everyone,” just doubles down on the fact that this school is really attempting to make a change.

Yes, this program was spurred on by some horrible findings earlier in the year. But there have been multiple schools accused of having an unusually bad case of rape culture. Most of them have responded with statements to the press and empty promises. University of Montana is actually doing something about it. They're taking action. And they're the first major school to do so.

Danielle Wozniak, an associate professor at the school, said, “One of the things that we wanted to do was be very proactive and to really create an environment where [a string of assaults on campus] cannot easily happen again. And so part of that was educating every single student about information that we felt was imperative to their safety.” Wozniak also sits on the University Council on Student Assault, the group that created and supported the tutorial.

We all need to be doing more to help young people respect their bodies and those of their peers. We need to support students and let them know that this problem is serious. That the school takes it seriously. University of Montana is leading the way, and hopefully more schools will follow in their example.

(Photo: Diego Cervo/Shutterstock)

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