New program targets sex crimes

Mia Washington

One of every four women is sexually assaulted at some point during her college experience.

In eight out of 10 instances, the victims knew their assailants and more than half of the sexual assaults were committed under the influence of alcohol.

These statistics, taken from a poll at George Mason University, among others, have prompted the University to start an awareness program.

The Department of Public Safety, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Awareness, is implementing a new sexual assault program to inform the University community about sexual assault crimes.

“Sexual assault is something that should be talked about,” Jeffrey Horton, director of Public Safety said. “It happens all over college campuses, and most of the time it goes unreported.”

Horton, Investigator Joanna Gallagher, Senior Investigator Jim Conway and Kathy LaVecchio of the Department of Health and Awareness are providing programs to both inform students and encourage them to become aware of their environment.

In one of the program’s events, speaker Mike Domitriz will address the University community. His program, “Can I Kiss You?” features an interactive seminar that places participants directly in a sexual assault scenario. The seminar will be presented three times on Oct. 23.

Horton feels that it is advantageous to have a male speaker. “It’s good to hear from the male perspective,” he said. “After all, sexual assault is not just a women’s issue, since men are usually the perpetrators of the crime. This is a chance for them to change things as well.”

Students are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to increase awareness. “If we can prevent one student from being sexually assaulted this year, then it makes it all worth it,” Horton said.

Other events sponsored by Public Safety this year will include Sexual Assault Awareness Week, held from April 7 to 14, and Take Back the Night, also held in the month of April.

More information is available about the new program at