We’re in the middle of the ‘red zone’

Members of W.A.R. (Warriors Against Rape) protesting at the Women’s March in Tallahassee.
Photo courtesy W.A.R.

Young adults, especially women ages 18-24, are at an elevated risk of sexual assault and sexual violence on college campuses.

The “red zone” – a term used on many college campuses – is referred to as a period from the beginning of the fall semester to about Thanksgiving break when sexual assault on campuses increase nationwide.

Sexual assault can be an uncomfortable topic, but more and more survivors are speaking out and educating people, especially students.

Sexual assault is something Alyssia Mike knows very well. The junior health informatics and informatics and information management student at FAMU is the founder of the organization W.A.R: Warriors Against Rape.

Founded in 2018, W.A.R aims to advocate, educate, and empower FAMU’s student body, survivors, and allies alike.

“I saw a lot of students speaking out about sexual assault, but I didn’t see anything being done about it,” Mike said.

The organization puts on different events and programs on and off campus to teach students and bring awareness to sexual assault.

“By educating students it helps prevention and it also helps the people affected, to be aware that it has happened to them, and what they can do to protect themselves and to protect their mental health,” Mike said.

W.A.R. is just one of the resources FAMU offers concerning sexual assault awareness.

Carrie Gavin, director of Equal Opportunity Programs and Title IX officer at FAMU, has worked in the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs for nearly 30 years.

“It is important for males and females to understand that in order to have sex with another person, you must first get his or her consent.  No one is entitled to have sex with another person without permission.  If consent is not given, sexual activity should not be initiated,” Gavin said.

Gavin knows all too well the misconception associated with consent regarding young males and females.

“It appears too many people, today, believe it is OK to have sex with a person who is too drunk to consent.  That is rape. If a person cannot say ‘no’ or has not said ‘yes,’ no sexual activity should occur. Too many sexual assaults hinges on whether consent is given or not,” Gavin said.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there will be an attempted or actual sexual assault on one in five female undergraduate students.

The importance of being cognizant that sexual assault Is an issue and we all have an obligation to do and encourage others to do what it right is something Gavin stresses daily.

FAMU and the City of Tallahassee provides many resources for sexual assault awareness such as FAMU Police Department, Tallahassee Police Department, Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, Title IX Office, Student Health Services, and Counseling Services.