Between 2013 and 2015 there were a total of 17 reported rape cases and 5 reported fondling cases on campus, according to DePauw’s 2016 Clery Report.
Code T.E.A.L., which stands for talk, educate, advocate, listen, was founded in 2014 to advocate and educate DePauw University about sexual assault in order to diminish the rate of sexual assault on campus. “Even one instance of sexual assault is one too many,” Christina Seung, president of Code T.E.A.L., said.
To achieve that goal, Code T.E.A.L. organized a week dedicated to sexual assault awareness, but Seung said Code T.E.A.L. wishes it did not need to be an organization on campus. “Our goal, we like to tell people, is that we don’t want to exist because that would mean that there isn’t really anything that we would need to be fighting against anymore,” Seung said.
During Sexual Assault Awareness Week Code T.E.A.L. hosts many events. The organization started the week with a Coffee, Conversation and Clothesline Project as well as a faculty information session.
One of Code T.E.A.L’s main events for the week was a Faculty Information Session on Tuesday in order to help bridge a connection between students and faculty on the issue of sexual assault. “I understand the academic part of DePauw but what happens in student life, in the dorms, in the Greek houses, at night and on weekends, I have not really educated myself on that aspect of your life,” Douglas Harms, chair of the computer science department said.
Renee Madison, DePauw’s Title IX coordinator, believes that faculty should be educated on sexual assault, since sometimes they are the only outlet a student feels comfortable confiding in. “I think the biggest impact [in terms of reported cases] has been in regards to our faculty and staff understanding their obligation to report students who disclose sexual assault to them and so then those get reported to us and that’s where I think one of the important increases has come in [terms of] reporting,” Madison said.
In regards to the recent increase of conversation on campus, sexual assault is an issue for many, and factors such as alcohol and drugs make sexual assault worse. “I think some factors would be not understanding what consent is, especially when alcohol and drugs are involved,” Harms said. Harms believes that first-years on campus should take advantage of programs such as Green Dot, in order to create a safer environment on campus.
The question of how to fix such a prominent issue was a challenging question for many. Seung thinks that people often look past the underlying issues and causes of sexual assault and believes that education, although difficult, can help fix this issue. “I think that’s the hardest thing, is this whole idea of education because you have to get people to want to participate and care about it [sexual assault],” Seung said, “and it’s really hard because people naturally feel uncomfortable talking about sexual assault which is understandable but they’re necessary conversations to have.”
The other events Code T.E.A.L. is hosting for Sexual Assault Awareness Week are a movie night in Peeler at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, a survivor story reading on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Ubben Quad, and a solidarity walk in Academic Quad at 11:30 a.m. on Friday.