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‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’ across the borderland

April+is+national+Sexual+Assault+Awareness+Month.+Photo+courtesy+of+Wikipedia+Commons+
April is national Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

April is national Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), throughout which, the campaign from National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) provides more information about prevention against sexual violence. 

The NSVRC website states “Sexual Assault Awareness Month calls attention to the fact that sexual violence is widespread and impacts every person in the community. SAAM aims to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it.” 

One place in El Paso is the Center Against Sexual Family Violence (CASFV), located at 580 Giles Rd., where they continue its mission of providing free services to the community who are experiencing sexual violence and abuse and overall advocating for the safety of women, men, and children of El Paso. 

CASFV Associate Director for Community Relations Luis Salas, speaks about what the center provides since being first opened in 1977 by five women who wanted to advocate for sexual family violence. 

“Even though we bring awareness to it during these months, especially in April for sexual assault, sexual assault happens all the time,” Salas said. “Recognizing that there is a need, there is a problem, and that the community should come together and kind of be aware right of what’s happening and recognizing that sexual assault awareness is in the month of April.” 

Other ways CASFV helps the community are by also bringing awareness to Teen Dating Violence Month in February and Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. 

Here on campus, there has hardly been cases of sexual assault or harassment according to UTEP Police Reports. Aside from the easy procedure in filing a report on campus, most of these issues tend to happen outside of the campus system but, it does not hinder the procedures UTEP has put in place to prevent these cases from happening. 

One resource includes UTEP’s Title IX SB 212 under “CEO Report Under Texas Education Code” was implemented on Jan. 1, 2022.  

It states: “Texas Education Code (TEC), Section 51.252(c) requires an institution of system’s Chief’s Executive Officer (CEO) submit a report (CEO Report) at least once during each fall or spring semester to the institution’s governing body and post the report on the organizations website.” 

According to the UTEP Chief Executive Officer Report, from Aug. 23, 2021, to Aug. 21, 2022, 170 reports were received under the section across the UT system. 151 of these reports were not issued disciplinary action by the university. However, these reports do go through an investigative process. The last report centered around sexual assault was a harassment case back on Jan. 4, 2022, listed on the UTEP crime and incident log by the U.T. System. 

UTEP Title IX coordinators protect students by providing ways for students, faculty and staff to submit a report or complaint of sexual violence, sexual assault, misconduct, harassment, stalking and or violence. 

“If there’s a sexual assault that is reported at school, on campus, then the law enforcement at UTEP are the ones that will be investigating,” Salas said. “The advocates are the ones that will be reaching out to them there.” 

With UTEP’s partnership with CASFV, the report will be sent to the center so that they can reach out to the victim to offer them the services the center provides. 

“We try to empower them by giving them the tools needed to live healthy and have a healthy relationship,” Salas said. “We’re trying to give that power back to them where they make their own choices.” 

UTEP has many other resources students can reach out to report incidents. The Title IX office offers exponential resources for students to report sexual assault, harassment, etc. The psychological and counseling services also provide free services for students interested in receiving additional help. 

If you or someone you know needs assistance in any way, CASFV provides a 24-hour bilingual crisis hope line where the caller can speak to an advocate. They can see their options for any tools such as support groups or therapists or if the caller is seeking shelter, they offer different hotline anyone can call or text. CASFV website also has a chat feature that is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Tuesdays, there is open registration for those seeking services through the center. Services can also be registered through the phone. 

The Center Against Sexual and Family Violence can be reached at their hotline at 915-593-7300, or their housing services at 915-593-7300.  

To contact their chat feature and learn more information, visit casfv.org. 

Avery Escamilla-Wendell is the staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @by_avery_escamilla 

 

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About the Contributor
Avery Escamilla-Wendell
Avery Escamilla-Wendell, Arts & Culture Editor
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‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’ across the borderland