Forum to address sexual harassment

By Tobias Cheng, Staff Writer

The sexual harassment forum, organized by the ASU and Police Services, will take place in LA-100 on Tuesday at noon to discuss the issue of sexual harassment on college campuses.

Corporal Tom Holt said many colleges try to hide it when students at the college are sexually assaulted.

“We’re not trying to cover it up. We’re trying to bring light to it,” he said.

Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Andrea Tavenier said, “This forum will provide a more open dialogue about these things.”

The documentary “The Hunting Ground” will be shown during the event.  

“It is a documentary which address the epidemic of sexual assault at college campuses all across the country,” Javier Lopez, the prevention educator at Community Violence Solutions, said.

“The documentary will highlight four or five instances where women have had cases appealed through the college judicial process.”

Lopez said after the screening there will be an open discussion panel available to discuss the reality of sexual assault on campus.

The panelists will include Holt, Tavenier and Dean of Student Services Vicki Ferguson, among others.

Tavenier said, “We want to encourage an open dialogue especially with younger students just entering the college environment. There is a huge percentage of sex assaults occurring among students ages of 18 to 23.

“We want to reduce incidents by encouraging bystander intervention.”

Bystander intervention is when a bystander sees something inappropriate being done to someone else and he or she steps in to prevent a possible sexual assault.

“It’s good. It opens up the conversation between professionals and non-professionals to find a better solution,” social sciences major Erick Jackson said.

Political sciences major Carrie Walker said holding the event would be informational and gives confidence to others to discuss sexual assault, giving “them a backbone (to open up).”

Tavenier said, “We are just now gearing up to reach out to all campuses in Contra Costa County to provide sex assault and harassment training for students.”

She said first they will start at the college level but the panelist group plans to move onto different public events in the community “to reduce incidents of sexual violence.”