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Pitt State student urging campus officials to install self-protection devices in the dorms

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), in 2020, nearly one in five women and one in 71 men in the U.S. have been raped at some point in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration.  

Saitharn Im Iam, junior in professional writing, has taken on a project focused on sexual assault as part of a women’s studies course.  

“I’ve personally experienced the trauma and the cruel outcomes of sexual assault,” Iam said. “I wanted to find a way to give young adults more protection or assurance in their lives.”  

Iam has started a petition for the project.  

“I’ve always wanted to find a way to help victims of sexual assault and marginalized groups that are particularly at risk, but it wasn’t until my Women’s and Gender Studies course that the opportunity was presented to me in the form of my activism project,” Iam said.  

The petition can be found at http://chng.it/XgvVNzzJ

“This project is important to me because I, like many other women, have been personally affected by this issue,” Iam said. “And it’s not just a simple incident that occurs and is forgotten the next day. It’s like a phantom limb that lingers and seeps into your consciousness every single day.”  

There are resources on campus at PSU for victims of sexual assault.  

“I know PSU has an organization called Students for Violence Prevention that has several great resources for students to educate themselves topics like sexual violence,” Iam said. “PSU’s Campus Victim Advocate was a lot of help when I was searching for information. The Bryant Student Health Center also offers counseling sessions as well as exams and resources.”  

Iam has an idea of how to make students safer on campus, particularly in the dorms.   

“I mentioned numerous places just as PSU that offer great resources, but there is an extreme lack of tangible items for students,” Iam said. “I’m advocating the placement of self-protection devices like date rape drug detectors, personal safety alarms, or pepper spray in the dorms for students to have easy access to them. I was thinking these items could be placed with RA’s or in other safe locations where students could access them at any time. Larger budget items like personal safety alarms and pepper spray could be utilized in a ‘check-out’ procedure with a valid student ID. There are really several ways PSU could tackle this issue.”  

While self-protection devices are the main goal, Iam also wants to spread awareness to alternative ideas of preventative measures.  

“My goal is to implement self-protections devices in the dorms at PSU, but I’m also glad to shed awareness on a different method of deterrent for sexual assault and violence,” Iam said. “My hope is that universities provide students with more protection and give them tangible items to use whenever they are in precarious situations.”  

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