One in three Texans experience a form of sexual assault in their lifetime. That’s more than six million residents.
Unfortunately, according to Cindy Burnette, D.N.P., R.N., CA-CP SANE, SANE-A, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program director at Texas Health Resources, the number is much higher.
“Despite those alarming numbers, sexual violence is still underreported,” Burnette said. “That’s why [Texas Health] focuses on prevention,” she said.
In May, Texas Health and Tarrant County College (TCC) agreed to “address sexual victimization by cultivating community resilience” through data gathered from students about what they know before and after taking a sexual violence prevention course.
The course is part of the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, a national law protecting students from sexual violence and harassment.
An Association of American Universities study reveals that 13% of all college students are subjected to sexual violence during their college years.
“More than 50 percent of campus sexual assault incidents occur between mid-August and Thanksgiving break – a period called the Red Zone,” she added.
“Younger students are in a campus setting for the first time away from home. When it comes to sexual violence and consent, many either have limited knowledge or none at all,” Burnette said.
Therefore, Texas Health educates TCC students on various forms of sexual assault awareness.
Kateeka Harris, M.A., TCC’s district Title IX compliance officer, knows the power of sexual assault education.
“Not only are the workshops beneficial for students, faculty, and staff within our role at the college, this information benefits all of us as parents, guardians or caregivers and overall members of the community,” she said.
“When we’re able to educate, empower, and increase the emotional health of the community, a lesser amount of our services will be needed,” Burnette said. “That’s a collective goal worth striving to achieve, and I think we’re on the right path.”