By: Rikki Kolodny  | 

Students Against Sexual Assault Club Lead Event About Sexual Assault and Title IX Process

Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) hosted its annual event about sexual assault and the Title IX process at YU on Tuesday, Oct. 29 with about 40 participants. This was the third time an event of this nature was held at YU, with the first taking place in 2019.

The event began with Chloe Horowitz, a trauma therapist and “Enough is Enough” coordinator, presenting a slideshow on the importance of understanding Title IX policy and procedure, and what constitutes sexual assault and violence. “Schools are required to ensure that all students receive an equal education without gender discrimination … [and] sexual harassment,” Horowitz explained. “Schools are required to respond to reports [by students] ... and are required to have protections in place for survivors of these types of violence.” 

Horowitz also described how schools must respond to reports of misconduct and ensure that there are protections in place for sexual assault survivors. She noted that the roles of the Title IX coordinators involve helping survivors access resources like confidential therapy, ensuring due process for their report, and overseeing training and education on harassment.

She also destigmatized common myths regarding sexual assault, such as how most people are sexually assaulted by people they know and not by strangers, and that most reported rapes are found to be true and not an act of revenge. In addition, Horowitz went over how trauma can affect people differently and that the main goal of healing from a sexual assault is to regain a sense of autonomy. She also discussed the definition of consent — “Freely Given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic and Specific,” under the acronym “FRIES” — how to support sexual assault survivors and why survivors might be hesitant to report their assaults. 

Horowitz ended by giving a list of resources for support, and students were encouraged to ask questions or share comments.

This event comes about two months after an anonymous student alleged that she was raped and the university did not help her in an article published by The Commentator on Aug. 25 at the beginning of the school year. The following week, Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Science Karen Bacon emailed students expressing that faculty were “stunned and pained by the recently published story,” noting that “that there is more that we can do to better educate and secure our students … on both campuses how to protect themselves from potentially harmful situations.” She added that “the President made this issue a top priority for the University.”

In the aftermath, YU formed a committee, headed by Bacon, which included Rabbi Josh Blass and deans Bednarsh, Danielle Wozniak, Leslie Halpern and Sara Asher. According to Bednarsh and Bacon, the committee was assembled to provide suggestions to “further enhanc[e] our educational programs regarding sexual misconduct and harassment and to improv[e] our communications so that students who feel they have been subjected to sexual misconduct or harassment are better aware of the resources available to them and the procedures that will be followed to investigate their allegations.”

The committee had two separate meetings with students, one with student leaders and one with about 15 students to hear their concerns and suggestions regarding YU’sTitle IX policy and procedure. “At this time, the Committee is processing the information and comments that they received from students at two meetings,” Bacon said. “And we will continue to keep students involved as we move forward with this work.”

“Students have to feel safe,” Bednarsh said.

"SASA aims to be the help that you need in situations of all types of sexual assault,” the club said in a statement sent to The Commentator. “We work as a unit to spread this message and provide the proper outreach to those at YU. This club gives resources to those seeking mental therapy, self defense lessons, a community of support, and more. No one is alone, no one deserves to be mistreated, and with the proper education that we provide throughout our events, we hope to create more leaders to continue spreading our message." 

Photo Caption: Stern College for Women

Photo Credit: Yeshiva University