University of California launches website dedicated to preventing and responding to sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking
May 18, 2011
A website dedicated to reducing sexual assault, domestic and dating
violence and stalking on campus has been launched by the University of
California: http://ucempoweru.berkeley.edu/. The website is one result
of the work of dozens of UC staff from all 10 campuses during the past
three years. The efforts to develop it were supported by a grant from the
Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women (OVW).
The reality of gender-based violence on campus has long been recognized by the University of California system. It was the first system in the country to institute rape prevention education programs on every campus. That was in 1979. In the subsequent years, awareness about the kinds of violence has increased and it is now known that many members of our campus communities are survivors of not only rape but also other forms of sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking.
The website brings together expertise and knowledge from every campus which can now be accessed by the entire University of California community, our community partners and visitors. It will serve as a resource for those needing help and those seeking information. It includes links to the violence prevention and response services that are available at all UC campuses where visitors can access further information. It also contains a password-controlled section that will be used by the Systemwide Steering Committee to continue their work of sharing ideas.
Here at UC Berkeley, the Systemwide Steering Committee representatives
are: Allan Creighton, University Health Services;
Christine (Cici) Ambrosio, Gender Equity Resource
Center; Lisa Min, Social Services; Stacy
Holguin, Office of Student Development; and Susan
Trageser, Center for Student Conduct and Community
In addition to the website and the Systemwide Steering Committee, the OVW grant has aided in the development of a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) Team made up of representatives of numerous departments on campus and community organizations. This committee works to develop campus policies and procedures as well as promote prevention on campus through a variety of programs and initiatives. This grant also provides training for UC Berkeley Police officers and student conduct officers in order to help them respond more effectively to these crimes and incidents. There is also a violence prevention component to educate incoming students on these topics.
Violence impacts the entire UC Berkeley community. For information on support services and how to get involved in the campus’ commitment to end violence, contact empowerU@berkeley.edu.
The grant from Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) is helping the campuses improve their collaboration and share information about these issues on each campus and across the system. The goal is to improve services to survivors, hold perpetrators accountable and ultimately create a culture in which gender-based violence is not tolerated. Three decades of work on these issues has led to the understanding that it takes all members of a community to change the culture of violence.
For over a decade, rape has been the most commonly reported violent crime on American college campuses, with one study by the US Department of Justice estimating that as many as 25% of college women may be victims of rape or attempted rape during the course of their collegiate education. The same study found that 13% of college women reported having been stalked during the most recent seven-month period,  while other studies estimate that between 20% and 50% of students experience dating violence by the end of college. According to Cohen, et al. (1994), victims of violence experience a wide variety of physical and emotional consequences, often leading to social and academic difficulties. Langford (2006) notes that violence can lower the quality of life for all campus constituents, who may become fearful and restrict their activities out of concern for safety, while affecting the ‘bottom line’ for colleges by increasing costs, lowering retention, and absorbing resources that could otherwise be used to further the academic mission.
 Finn, P., Preventing Alcohol-Related problems on Campus: Acquaintance Rape – A Guide for Program Coordinators, Published by Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, Newton, MA, 1995.
 Fisher, B., Cullen, F., & Turner, M., The Sexual Victimization of College Women, US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice and Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, DC, 2000.
 E.g., Arias, I., Samios, M., & O’Leary, K., “Prevalence and Correlates of Physical Aggression During Courtship,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2:82-90, 1987.
 Cohen, M., Miller., T., & Rossman, S., “The Costs and Consequences of Violent Behavior in the US,” in Reiss, Jr., A. & Roth, J., Eds., Understanding and Preventing Violence, Volume 4: Consequences and Control Panel on the Understanding and Control of Violent Behavior, National Academy Press, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 1994.
 Langford, L., Preventing Violence and Promoting Safety in Higher Education Settings: Overview of a Comprehensive Approach, published by Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools and the US Department of Education, July 2006, http://www.higheredcenter.org/pubs/violence.html