CODTalk highlights awareness and a need for Partners Against Violence volunteers

The latest statistics spur concern for campus safety.


Ashley Bautista hosted the event, CODTalk – Partners against Violence. Screenshot courtesy of COD.

As violence rates continue to surge worldwide, awareness has never been more needed. Incidents of violence are on the rise, and nationwide statistics indicate that 2022 will see a further increase in violence on campus across the nation.

A new CODtalk was presented by Partners Against Violence on April 20, highlighting the resources and services available for those in need. Their organization provides vital preventative education and support for survivors of sexual assault and violent crimes. All of their services are confidential and available at no cost.

Ashley Bautista, Community Outreach Specialist for Partners Against Violence, hosted the event along with Linda Wilson, the volunteer and training program director. The talk presented disturbing statistics about violence and sexual assault against women and men in general and the increased chance for young people on campus.

Nearly 1 and five women have experienced rape or attempted rape during her lifetime.

How common are violence and sexual abuse? Nearly one in five women have experienced rape or attempted rape during her lifetime. Additionally, one in 30 men has experienced rape or attempted rape. Statistics reveal the ages 12 to 34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault. And in a shocking statistic, every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

College students are especially at risk, particularly between mid-August to late November. The time spanning the start of the fall semester through Thanksgiving break is when more than 50% of all college sexual assaults are statistically found to occur. This time frame is known as The Red Zone. Estimates are that only about 20 percent of these assaults get reported leaving 80 percent unreported due to the stigma of a sexual assault allegation. COD’s percentage is lower due to the lack of dorms on campus.

Researchers have also found that freshmen reported the highest rates of unwanted sexual contact. According to The Every Voice Coalition, research has attributed the contributing factors for the uptick to “psychological pressures or the use (or threat) of physical force” and “more socializing, less work, more free time and heavier drinking,” often in addition to or in place of Greek rush or unfamiliarity with new surroundings. However, no matter the circumstances, a survivor’s socialization or substance use should never nullify, devalue or invalidate cases of sexual violence.

Partners Against Violence presents the red zone campaign to bring awareness to this issue and support for the campus population. Community education is needed to help individuals protect themselves from violence and sexual abuse. Preventing future abuse from happening and connecting people to the provided services are essential elements of the program. They work with colleges and universities in the Inland Empire and East Riverside County to bring awareness to the red zone.

“We have created a series of Red Zone awareness and prevention infographics that will be posted on social media from September 13th through September 19th,” said Gena Pliss, Community Outreach Specialist for the non-profit. “Topics include campus safety, tips for staying safe when going out, consent, and Title IX.”

As violence and sexual assault rates escalate, the need for community participation has increased as well. ” As a community, we can bring change and hopefully eradicate sexual violence on college campuses,” says Ms. Bautista. “We can do this by practicing consent, being active bystanders, and being willing to promote healthy conversations with our campus mates.”

Partners Against Violence relies heavily on its volunteer program to help staff crisis lines and offices. The crisis lines take calls for counseling with psychological and emotional support. Still, when emergency calls come in, they also have the ability to respond to those with forensic exams and law enforcement. Ms. Wilson highlights the importance of these volunteers to the program, “My volunteers are here all the time, and I really do tell them they are so essential to this agency. They are the heart of this agency.”

Being a volunteer is very rewarding and it is a great way to give back to your community.

— Ashley Bautista

“COD students also have the opportunity to be a part of our volunteer program,” she continues. “By volunteering, they can gain professional experience as a sexual assault advocate, which looks great for college resumes, graduate school resumes, and future employment. Being a volunteer is very rewarding, and it is a great way to give back to your community.”

A new class for prospective volunteers will be starting in September. Anyone wishing to participate in this worthwhile work can find out more about the program here. There are many ways to assist, including serving as a board member, victim advocate, or even helping in the marketing department. Volunteer Advocates are particularly needed to answer the crisis hotline, respond to emergency callouts for sexual assault survivors, and assist with workshops/fairs at local schools and throughout the community.

If you are interested in volunteering or finding out about more, go to their website here.

Contact page for Partners Against Violence. Screenshot courtesy of COD.