SAAM reminds DU of its own rocky history with sexual assault


CAPE’s sign outside of their building on the corner of Asbury and University.

DENVER – Taking a walk through the University of Denver’s campus this month, it is hard to miss the signs advertising events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).

SAAM also brings to light DU’s rocky history with the topic.
DU was one of 55 Universities to undergo a Title IX investigation in 2014 for negligence of equally protecting women studying at their universities in regard to sexual assault, harassment, and stalking.
A little less well known is the “Dear colleague” letter sent out in 2011 by President Obama, outlining what sexual violence constitutes; it states that any type of sexual violence against a student or staff violates Title IX.
After this letter went out to all universities in the U.S., DU replaced Jevis, with CAPE (center for advocacy, prevention, and empowerment).
CAPE is a center on DU’s campus which is also a branch of the health & counseling center that provides resources, guidance and assistance to students who have been sexually assaulted, harassed, or stalked.


Materials available at CAPE.

CAPE was opened in 2011, shortly after the “Dear colleague” letter was sent out. DU had a center for victim advocacy before CAPE, but it was not as all encompassing on the topic of sexual assault as CAPE.
Before CAPE there was Jevis, which Kayla Ham, coordinator of CAPE services, says, “(Jevis) operated in a similar capacity to CAPE, but not quite where CAPE is”.
Jevis was much more victim centered, while CAPE focuses more on prevention on campus as well as advocating and providing resources to victims of sexual violence.

All greek members are required to attend B.O.S.S. training upon acceptance into their respective chapters. B.O.S.S. is a course which teaches attendees to notice signs of an unsafe potential sexual situation, and how to intervene so that nothing bad happens.
I caught up with some students to see whether they think DU has improved its handling of sexual assaults.
From the two female students I interviewed, they both voiced that they were content with DU’s handling of sexual assaults, but that the system as a whole still had some work to do.
Sophomore Grace Glaser told a story of someone who lived on her hall freshman year, “A girl on my floor last year was assaulted and went through a whole case and (her attacker) got expelled, but he doesn’t have to put on his transcript that it was because he sexually assaulted someone.”
Even though DU can expel a student for sexually assaulting another student, there is no rule or law anywhere that requires that student to have the reason for their expulsion on their transcript to transfer to another university.
Sophomore Olivia Storz had this to say about the matter, “There is a small minority of schools who (require students to put that the reason for their expulsion is sexual violence), but the reality is even if DU does a good job and kicks someone off campus, they will transfer somewhere else.”
DU has no control over where those transfer students go, and no way of knowing if the students who transfer in are previous offenders or not.
According to RAINN, “among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.”
Though there are no statistics out about DU’s sexual assault record so far in 2017, but on May 30, 2016 CBS 4, Denver released a story claiming that by that point in the year there had already been 7 reported rapes.
This went along with the national trend, because rape reports had risen between 16 and 30 percent according to the University of Denver.
The staggering variation in these statistics could also be due to more women feeling safe to report due to efforts by organizations similar to CAPE on university campuses as opposed to the past.
DU’s CAPE office is located in the Health and Counseling Center building on Asbury at 1981 S University Blvd. Denver, CO 80210.  If you are interested in attending any events hosted by CAPE for Sexual Assault Awareness Month on DU’s campus please consult the link below.\

DU’s Health and Counseling center is located at on the third floor of the Ritchie center, at 2240 E Buchtel Blvd. Denver CO, 80210.  If you or anyone you know is in need of health or counseling services please consult the link below.
If you would like to be a part of the B.O.S.S. peer educator program, please consult the link below.
If you or anyone you know is considering reporting a sexual assault, an incident of sexual harassment or an incident of stalking, please consult the link below.

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