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Greeks get educated on sex assault prevention

By Danielle Rideau
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, September 26, 2005
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Members of the greek community attended a required forum last night to learn about risks and prevention methods of violence and sexual assault, acts that have occurred at chapter houses in the past.

About 1,000 new members listened to speeches and watched presentations geared toward sexual assault and violence education, as well as being a role model to others on campus.

Tina Tarin, violence prevention specialist from the OASIS Program for Sexual Assault and Relationship

Violence, spoke about how important it is to prevent violence in the greek community.

Everyone has dealt with or knows someone who has dealt with interpersonal violence at one point, Tarin said, stressing respect and being sensitive about other people's experiences.

Violence and sexual assaults usually happen by someone the victim knows, at off-campus locations and are alcohol related more often than not, Tarin said, which is why it is important for the greek community to be aware of how people respond to such instances.

Tarin used a member of the audience as an example by showing how a person's physiological responses to fear and sexual arousal are usually the same.

One volunteer stood up and Tarin tried to scare him, showing the audience that when an individual is scared, their heart begins to beat fast, they begin to break out in a cold sweat and they get "frozen with fear," Tarin said.

It can be hard to distinguish fear from arousal, however, especially under the influence of alcohol, Tarin said, which can lead to a violent act or sexual assault.

The solution to such violence is prevention, Tarin said, urging the new members to watch out for each other in dangerous situations.

"The way we can prevent violence is bystander prevention," Tarin said. "If you see a friend that might be in a situation where they can get hurt, you have a responsibility to watch out for each other."

In the wake of recent alleged sexual assault incidents at fraternity houses, new members agree it's important to educate students about prevention and what to do if a sexual assault situation should arise.

"I think the talk was very interesting," said Sigma Alpha Mu new member Neal Rosenblum. "It's important that education is provided for incoming fraternity members about sexual assault prevention."

Rosenblum, an undeclared sophomore, said his fraternity does its best to ensure parties are as safe as they can be.

"All of our parties are strictly monitored," Rosenblum said. "If we find people trying to do something they aren't supposed to do they will be escorted from the party."

Although Sigma Alpha Mu does have a strict policy of keeping students safe, Rosenblum said, they make sure to keep a good balance of safety and fun.

The purpose of the symposium was to provide new greeks with the tools they need to get acquainted with the university by informing them of where to turn for guidance regarding sexual health questions, Associated Students of the University of Arizona leadership, diversity and the pillars of Greek Life, said Panhellenic Association Vice President of Programming Sarah Miller.

Following the breakout sessions, all the new members reconvened in the Grand Ballroom in the Student Union Memorial Center and heard a speech by Dean of Students Melissa Vito about representing the greek community and being part of a nationally respected Greek Life system.

Vito encouraged all new members to step up and either hold a leadership position or be a strong member within their chapter while thinking about their roles in the community and representing Greek Life.

"You've got the power to make a difference and I expect you to do that," Vito said.

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