When dealing with sexual assault, many students are
left unsure of what to do and where to go.
Safe Point was in response to the identified need for
increased awareness of resources for victims of sexual assault on campus. Safe
Point currently has 12 committee members who have had non-emergency response
training for sexual assault victims.
“Our hope is that if someone has been sexually
assaulted, and they don’t really know where to turn, where the resources are or
where to get help, they would seek out one of the members of Safe Point, and we
would give them their options of different resources that they could use,” said
Julie Zsido, a Safe Point faculty member.
“Students are afraid, they’re hurt, they’re upset,
they’re mad. There’s so many different emotions that go along with being a
victim that we can help them with just by listening to them,” Zsido said.
Safe Point is affiliated with the university, and the
members have been trained with the resources available on campus, making it a
reliable resource for students.
“There is a Sexual Assault Victim Service which is
designed to help community members who have been assaulted, but if there was
someone who wasn’t a student that came and talked to me, I would still talk to
them about what their options are,” Zsido said.
Safe Point is a resource group, but it is also
interested in sexual assault prevention and education. The Student Health
Promotion Office facilitates sexual assault education and prevention programs
in the residence halls.
“I supervise the Student Health Promotion Office, which
is staffed by our peer educators called Health Advocates,” said Stacey
Duellman, another faculty member of Safe Point. “Health Advocates facilitate
programs, work with the residence halls on different events and staff the
office by giving stress-relief sessions.”
Health Advocates are trained in six areas of expertise:
fitness; nutrition; stress management; tobacco; alcohol; and sexual assault
education and prevention.
Duellman and Zsido both believe that the desire to help
students has driven this group together.
“I work with students on a daily basis and want them to
have a safe place to talk about sexual assault. I became involved because I
genuinely care about students safety and academic success. Victims need a safe
place to talk about sexual assault and someone who can be a good resource for
them,” Duellman said.
Liz Gillmore, a member of Safe Point, has had students
come to her and report sexual assaults.
“Safe Point trained me on the campus and community
resources to where I can refer a victim. I now have the knowledge to
confidently refer a student to a resource that meets the victim’s needs,”
Zsido and the other staff and faculty members of Safe
Point feel that the hardest part is getting the word out there that the program
exists. This is difficult because both students and faculty members turn over
each year. The Safe Point members have been going to departmental meetings to
help faculty and staff understand who they are and what they do.
“There is a panel next week of all different kinds of
resources throughout the community and on campus, and I’m sitting in on that
panel to kind of help educate people that we exist and talk about our program,”
Zsido said. According to Swanson, the team has had to practice in some SAF
member’s garages. “We are still waiting for the university to find us a real
indoor practice site,” Spencer Johnson said.
If you are interested in joining the team, students are
asked to attend a SAF meeting and speak with the Woodland Sports coordinators.
“We are always looking for new members to join,” said
senior Rainey Johnson.