CCU starts mandatory sexual violence and assault course

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Colleges and universities across the country are being pushed to provide students education about sexual violence and prevention. This fall, Coastal Carolina University started a course called Haven.

It's an interactive online program that educates students about sexual violence differently based on whether they are male or female. All freshman and transfer students, student athletes and members of sororities and fraternities were asked to take it before coming to campus this fall.

It focuses on situations students may find themselves in as a potential victim, and how to stand up as a bystander. From now on, all new students will take it when they attend CCU.

Over the spring, the federal government gave colleges and universities guidelines to begin educating students about sexual violence and assault.  So if your child goes or plans to go to a different school, they'll receive a similar course.

"Most universities have adopted specific educational programs for students, and they require those programs at varying degrees," says Debbie Conner, Vice President for Student Affairs at CCU.
Haven is being tied in with the alcohol education program, also set up online.

There's also a program for incoming students called "How About that Party." A group comes in and acts out scenarios that students may experience at parties. "And the conversation around specifically around consent, around the role that alcohol and drugs sometimes play in sexual violence in college campuses, and allows students to talk through that situation," Conner says.

Since starting various educational programs in the last few years at CCU and across the nation, Conner says there have been more sexual assaults reported. "I don't think that there's an increase in sexual violence, across campus or across the country," she says. "But I think with more awareness, comes the opportunity for more people to report or get help."

October is sexual assault awareness month.  CCU will be one of many college campuses across the country with a week of events to teach students and the community about sexual assault.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.