There was more than one type of rain at work on Tuesday when RAINN — the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network — distributed 1 million pieces of sexual assault literature in the first annual “Get Carded” program.
RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, teamed up with local groups such as Consent — Yale’s peer hotline for sexual assault and harassment issues — to hand out 700,000 wallet cards across the nation. The cards included tips on reducing the risk of sexual assault and how to deal with sexual assaults. Members also handed out 300,000 other pieces of related information at more than 700 college campuses. At Yale, Consent staff handed out 500 cards, Consent leader Liana Epstein ’05 said.
The “Get Carded” literature advised students always to look out for friends, never to leave drinks — alcoholic or not — unattended, and to know basic campus safety. In addition, they recommended that if one is sexually assaulted, the person should find a safe environment, preserve evidence of the assault, and seek medical attention. The cards also include RAINN’s sexual assault hotline number, which gets over 10,000 calls a month.
RAINN’s spokeswoman Jamie Zuieback said national statistics were the impetus for the “Get Carded” program.
Eighty percent of sexual assault victims are under the age of 30, and people aged 16 to 24 are three times more at risk of being sexually assaulted than any other group, Zuieback said.
Epstein said Consent became involved with RAINN’s endeavor because they wanted to conduct more outreach work at Yale.
“We wanted to show our support of the national scene,” Epstein said. “We weren’t expecting a huge student reaction, we just wanted to start off the year by getting people talking and thinking about sexual assault.”
Both Epstein and Zuieback agreed that sexual assault is underreported. Zuieback said half of sexual assaults are not reported to the authorities.
“The goal of ‘Get Carded’ is not only to help people prevent sexual assault, but we want people to know how to report cases so that perpetrators are brought to justice,” she said.
Epstein said Consent is hoping to spread a general awareness about sexual assault among the Yale population.
“Students at Yale are generally aware, but sexual assault is often overlooked, especially in privileged areas,” Epstein said. “Often, people think [sexual assault] doesn’t happen, but it happens a lot more than people think.”
Dayo Olopade ’07, who received a “Get Carded” card at Woolsey Hall, said it was repetition of information she already knew.
“It had tips on how not to get raped or assaulted, but most of it was common sense and stuff I knew anyway,” Olopade said. “The card made me think about sexual assault for 10 seconds, but otherwise it wasn’t very helpful.”
Epstein said she believes that organizations like RAINN and Consent are effective.
As of 2001, Epstein said the number of reported cases of sexual assault was down by half, to 248,000. However, one in six women are still sexually assaulted, and a case of sexual assault occurs every two minutes, she said.
RAINN plans to make “Get Carded” an annual event, and also initiate a similar program at high schools in the spring, Zuieback said.
“Our hope is that more young men and women who are eager to learn about this issue will have information on what they can do to prevent and respond to sexual assault,” she said.