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New group wants students to SPEAK UPP!

by Lindsey Smith–Local Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Erin Schroeder is working to create a community of educated, conscientious students to prevent sexual violence on campus.

The new club, SPEAK UPP!, will provide students a place to meet with fellow students to learn how to increase awareness of sexual violence and its effect on the campus and community.

One of the biggest issues on college campuses is sexual violence, which is partially what prompted Schroeder to start the group in the first place. One in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted in college and Schroeder wanted to use these shocking statistics to help.

“I want to help give students the tools that they need to be safe and help others stay safe as well,” Shroeder says.

SPEAK UPP! stands for sexual violence prevention education awareness and knowledge university prevention program. While it is a long title, Schroeder believes the abbreviation really represents what the group is about.

She says, “Our student group is called SPEAK UPP! because that is what we will teach students to do.”

Around 39 students have expressed an interest in joining SPEAK UPP! which is an open group, meaning people can join at any time. The first meeting will be on November 16 in the Maud Adams room in Olsen Student Center, and students will meet the second and fourth Thursdays of each month.

Schroeder is incredibly pleased with the response to this program.

She says, “I have been so impressed with the level of involvement and the desire for awareness that both students and faculty have shown.”

Along with regular meeting times, there will also be sessions called “Bringing in the Bystander” to address how to handle possible sexual assault scenarios in October and November.

Schroeder has big plans for the group after receiving a sexual violence prevention grant from the Iowa Coalition on Sexual Assault. The grant is only supposed to last three years, but Schroeder hopes to expand outside that time frame.

To find out more information about the group and how to join, you can contact Erin Schroeder at erin@caasaonline.org or by phone at 712-546-6764.