The Advance-Titan

Red Zone group brings awareness of sexual assault

Mckenzie Konop

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Lydia Sanchez | The Advance-Titan

UWO sophomores Olivia Fetcho and Alexis Lindahl work on decorating a poncho to get the word out about campus sexual assault.

UW Oshkosh is hosting a program called the Red Zone to spread awareness about sexual violence that occurs during the first six weeks of the school year on college campuses across the country.

While sexual violence can happen at anytime, the Department of Justice said the time between student arrivals on campus and Thanksgiving break is when the most assaults take place in their college careers.

Director of the Women’s Center Alicia Johnson said the reason for starting the Red Zone program is inspired by a conference based on sexual assault.

“Stephanie Kitzerow, the campus victim advocate, and I attended a conference that focused on sexual assault,” Johnson said. “While we were there learning from other campuses and in terms of what they were doing on sexual violence prevention, we came across the Red Zone initiative. Her and I decided to brainstorm some ideas and pitch them to others on campus, and it sparked a lot of interest with people around campus.”

The main goal of this program, Johnson said, is to get the word out about sexual violence to students during the first six weeks of school.

“The goal of this program is to spread awareness to people about myths that surround sexual violence, where to go to report it, the options for someone who is a victim of sexual violence and what you could do if you are a friend of a victim of sexual violence,” Johnson said.

UWO student Ariannah Albrecht said she thinks the Red Zone is a great program to have around college campuses.

“I believe sexual violence is not talked about enough on campuses and needs to be addressed more,” Albrecht said. “This is an important problem happening all around many colleges, and having this program to spread awareness is a step in the right direction.”

Women’s Center Intern Hannah Foley said she wanted to help start the program to prevent future sexual violence on campus.

“As a college student, I feel with this program being actively introduced during the first six weeks of school makes me feel safer on campus,” Foley said. “Some other campuses around the nation do not address this issue which makes me proud to be a UWO student because we are having students talk about this topic.”

Foley said she feels the program impacts not only people who attend college but students everywhere.

“I think this program is inclusive for all students,” Foley said. “We are not only doing programs that talk about facts all the time but also doing more interactive activities as well, just to get everyone involved. Everyone should be made aware of this issue.”

Another objective of the Red Zone, Johnson said, is to help students feel safe on college campuses.

“We are trying to show people there are a lot of resources on campus and that we are here and ready to help,” Johnson said. “I think providing this information early on, especially during this time of year, is crucial to helping students feel more safe and secure on campus. We just want to make students aware of the time period that sexual assault occurs the most and to get the word out to a broad range of people to take a stand against sexual violence.”

Johnson said while recent Titan Alerts are alarming, students should take this as an opportunity to inform themselves on this topic.

“I highly encourage the entire campus community to educate themselves on campus sexual assault by becoming familiar with resources and statistics on campus related to all forms of sexual violence,” Johnson said. “An excellent place to start looking for resources and statistics is the Title IX website maintained by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.”

Overall, Albrecht said she is glad there is a program on campus making this issue prominent, especially with the recent Titan Alerts being sent around campus.

“I have received some scary Titan Alerts about people reporting potential acts of sexual violence,” Albrecht said. “This worries me, so having this program around hopefully will give me and other students a peace of mind while living on campus.”

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Red Zone group brings awareness of sexual assault