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Students Learn About Sexual Violence and Resources at Panel Hosted by CODA

Mary Dolan | The PhoenixStudents gathered to learn about sexual violence and what sorts of resources Loyola provides.

About 40 people gathered in Cuneo Hall Monday afternoon to listen to sexual violence prevention advocates and professors discuss perspectives on sexual violence in an event called “#MeToo, Now What?”

The Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA) is a support and networking group for students from diverse backgrounds and is a group within Loyola’s psychology department. They held this panel as one of their annual events, according Jeff Huntsinger, a psychology professor and a co-director of CODA. 

The audience, which consisted mostly of women, asked the panel questions on issues surrounding sexual violence. One of the main topics discussed was sexual assault resources available at Loyola. 

The panel of speakers included Maritza Reyes, director of the sexual assault program at Mujeres Latinas en Acción, Robin Berman, Loyola’s senior health educator and advocacy coordinator, Christine George, a Loyola professor from the Center for Urban Research and Learning and Robyn Mallet, a professor in the psychology department. 

In 2016, the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act (PSVHA) showed 55 off-campus instances of sexual violence from Loyola, The Phoenix previously reported. Loyola’s safety and security report from that year reported 15 instances of sexual violence on or adjacent to campus. 

In a post-panel interview with The Phoenix, Berman said it’s important for universities to be transparent about the number of reports of sexual violence while protecting the privacy of survivors. 

The panel discussed Loyola Advocacy Services, which provides resources to survivors of sexual violence while keeping reports confidential. 

Confidential reporting is a good first step to get people the help they need, Berman said. This can help survivors make a decision on how to proceed with getting assistance following sexual violence. They can learn about the process of reporting to Loyola’s Title IX office, which handles reports of sexual violence within the university. 

Other services provided by Loyola Advocacy Services include connecting people with medical, mental health and legal help, providing survivor ally training and helping people create plans to leave unhealthy relationships. 

The panel also discussed ways Loyola’s Catholic identity can limit its response to sexual violence. Berman said it prevents them from providing birth control or referring people to certain places such as Planned Parenthood. Berman said she isn’t too concerned about this because it doesn’t severely affect their ability to respond to students’ needs.

Berman said the university has been helpful in ensuring survivors are believed and supported. She also thinks the advocacy services can always be improved by expanding the service. 

The #MeToo movement, an international movement against sexual assault, was also discussed during the panel. Reyes said she’s seen change in the last five years through the #MeToo movement. George said the movement has shed more light on sexual violence by exposing individuals in power. 

The panel invited the audience to change the conversation around sexual violence. Reyes and Mallet said a good way to start is to talk about it more and challenge people’s perspectives.

Some students who attended the panel said they felt more informed about sexual violence and what resources are available to them. 

Sarah Train, a multimedia journalism major, said she knew about sexual violence issues but said she wanted to learn more about it from professionals. 

“I know more information about sexual assault resources at Loyola,” the first-year said. “Learning about them felt brushed over when I first came to Loyola.” 

Kayla Abrams, a first-year student, said it was interesting to hear how Loyola’s religious affiliation prevents the university from referring people to places like Planned Parenthood.

To find sexual violence resources, call Loyola’s Sexual Assault Advocacy Line at 773-494-3810. The line is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and 24 hours on the weekends when classes are in session. The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673.

Around 40 people gathered in Cuneo Hall Monday afternoon to listen to sexual violence prevention advocates and professors discuss perspectives on sexual violence in an event called “#MeToo, Now What?”

The Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA) is a group within Loyola’s psychology department, a support and networking group for students from diverse backgrounds. They held this panel as one of their annual events, according Jeff Huntsinger, a psychology professor and a co-director of CODA.

The audience, which consisted mostly of females, asked the panel questions on issues surrounding sexual violence. One of the main topics discussed was sexual assault resources available at Loyola.

The panel of speakers included Maritza Reyes, director of the sexual assault program at Mujeres Latinas en Acción, Robin Berman, Loyola’s senior health educator and advocacy coordinator, Christine George, a Loyola professor from the Center for Urban Research and Learning and Robyn Mallet, a professor in the psychology department.

In 2016, the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act (PSVHA) showed 55 off-campus instances of sexual violence from Loyola, The Phoenix previously reported. Loyola’s safety and security report from that year reported 15 instances of sexual violence on or near campus.

In a post-panel interview with The Phoenix, Berman said it’s important for universities to be transparent about the number of reports of sexual violence, while protecting the privacy of survivors.

The panel discussed Loyola Advocacy Services, which provides resources to survivors of sexual violence while keeping reports confidential.

Confidential reporting is a good first step to get people the help they need, Berman said. This can help survivors make a decision on how to proceed with getting assistance following sexual violence. They can learn about the process of reporting to Loyola’s Title IX office, which handles reports of sexual violence within the university.

Other services provided by Loyola Advocacy Services include connecting people with medical, mental health and legal help, providing survivor ally training and helping people create plans to leave unhealthy relationships.

The panel also discussed ways Loyola’s Catholic identity can limit its response to sexual violence. Berman said it prevents them from providing birth control or referring people to certain places such as Planned Parenthood. Berman said she isn’t too concerned about this because it doesn’t severely affect their ability to respond to students’ needs.

Berman said the university has been helpful in ensuring survivors are believed and supported. She also thinks the advocacy services can always be improved by expanding the service.

The #MeToo movement, an international movement against sexual assault, was also discussed during the panel. Reyes said she’s seen change in the last five years through the #MeToo movement. George said the movement has shed more light on sexual violence by exposing individuals in power.

The panel invited the audience to change the conversation around sexual violence. Reyes and Mallet said a good way to start is to talk about it more and challenge people’s perspectives.

Some students who attended the panel said they felt more informed about sexual violence and what resources are available to them.

Sarah Train, a multimedia journalism major, said she knew about sexual violence issues but said she wanted to learn more about it from professionals.

“I know more information about sexual assault resources at Loyola,” the first-year said. “Learning about them felt brushed over when I first came to Loyola.”

Kayla Abrams, a first-year student, said it was interesting to hear how Loyola’s religious affiliation prevents the university to referring people to places like Planned Parenthood.

To find sexual violence resources, call Loyola’s Sexual Assault Advocacy Line at 773-494-3810. The line is open 8:30am-4:30pm on weekdays and 24 hours on the weekends when classes are in session. The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673.

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