Not Anymore training reveals need for education
“If folks are surprised at the definition of consent, then we have a problem,” Scates said.
Sep. 17, 2015
Only 41 percent of MU freshmen who took the MU Title IX Office’s Not Anymore sexual violence prevention survey correctly answered a series of questions regarding defining consent.
“Unfortunately, the conversation about the definition of consent isn’t happening as much as it really needs to,” said Kimberly Scates, Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center education coordinator. “So if folks are surprised at the definition of consent, then we have a problem.”
Not Anymore was implemented this school year and is only required for new students. If students don’t take it, there is a hold placed on their account, which can bar them from registering for classes. The training takes an estimated hour to complete.
Title IX Administrator Ellen Eardley encourages all students to take the training. Eardley said she would also like to see students complete the training before they arrive on campus.
As part of the training, Students listen to personal stories of sexual violence, answer true-or-false questions and watch bystander intervention scenarios before taking a comprehension test. They must pass the test with at least a 70 percent or retake the training.
The Title IX Office recently partnered with the RSVP Center and Women’s Center to implement this training for incoming freshmen and transfer students. The coalition is reaching out to other student organizations in a parallel effort to get students to engage with the training.
“We’ve talked to a number of student groups already this fall, and we have a new menu for prevention programs that are available,” Eardley said. “We have a specific Not Anymore follow-up program that the RSVP Center is offering. So this way, student organizations, classes, fraternities and sororities can invite our office to come and discuss the issues in Not Anymore.”
For freshman John Lund-Molfese, some of the wording in Not Anymore seemed confusing. He said he knew other freshmen who didn’t take the training seriously.
“A lot of the people I talked to didn’t pay much attention to the training,” Lund-Molfese said. “You could have it open in a different (browser) window just to get it over with.”
Scates said she knows that before college, most students do not have access to adequate, correct information about consent.
“Our society gives mixed messages all the time, but individuals do not,” Scates said. “Individuals know whether or not they want to have sex. Alcohol is the number one predatory drug. We live in a culture that glamorizes alcohol and uses women’s bodies to do so. We call all of this a part of rape culture, which is the idea that we live in a culture which is sustaining ridiculously high numbers of sexual violence and harassment.”
With demands for a more interactive campus education spanning across multiple spectrums of race and gender, Scates is confident in the RSVP Center’s ability to continue educating and reinforcing the definitions more strictly.
“Fifty-nine percent of Mizzou students, mostly incoming freshmen, still don’t understand the definition of consent — it’s a sad number,” Scates said. “My feeling around it is sadness. My thought around it is that we have more work to do.”
Because one-third of sexual assaults occur in the presence of a bystander, Eardley said she believes bystander intervention is one of the most useful ways to prevent sexual assault.
“Some research shows that students are a little bit reluctant to intervene,” Eardley said. “The bystander intervention focuses on a party setting. It shows a student putting a drug into someone else’s drink, and how other students might interrupt that.”
Scates said she recalled an instance when she interrupted a potential sexual assault.
“I had a friend who made it clear early in the evening that she didn’t want to hook up with anyone that night when we were going out,” Scates said. “Someone was attempting to hook up with her after she had a lot to drink. I asked her what she wanted to do in that moment, and she made it clear that she didn’t want to hook up. So I just drove her home.”
At first, Scates said she didn’t view that night as a bystander intervention.
“I was just being a good friend,” Scates said. “I think people are practicing bystander intervention. Once we give people the language and tools to be active bystanders, they act on it.”