In a July 14 B-Line News Addition, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger promised students better sexual assault education. Now that the semester has begun, this promise has been upheld.

This year’s training has a different focus from prior years. Previously, the training has honed in on identifying sexually violent behavior. According to Dara Raboy-Picciano, co-founder and coordinator of Interpersonal Violence Prevention (20:1), this year’s training focuses more on victim testimonials and understanding the trauma associated with sexual assault.

The training module reinforces information regarding identifying sexual assault and sexual violence. It aims to benefit the University community by making it a safer place for students with regards to understanding consensual sex. In doing so, the training highlights the skills necessary to recognize and address questionable situations.

While this training has the potential to inform the University community about sexual assault prevention, some students may be apprehensive to engage with it. In addition to describing the training, Raboy-Picciano also acknowledged that programs of this nature can be harmful to some.

“Some students may find the program triggering,” Raboy-Picciano said. “They can contact Health Promotion and Prevention Services [HPPS] and speak to the Interpersonal Violence Prevention [program] coordinator as an alternative.”

All incoming undergraduate and graduate students at BU are required to complete an online sexual assault prevention training program through HPPS by Sept. 30. A link to the sexual assault prevention training was provided to all incoming students by SafeColleges, a video-based training company, on Sept. 7. It has also been advertised various times on B-Line beginning on Sept. 3.

Kaitlyn Gargano, an undeclared freshman, said the training is not a demanding time commitment.

“There is a mandatory orientation section and also a sexual violence protection section,” Gargano said. “Both said they take 13 minutes to complete.”

As sexual assault awareness continues to spread with the @shareyourstorybing Instagram page sharing anonymous stories of sexual violence, many students believe in the need for training. Elisabeth Freedman, an undeclared freshman, said the training is useful to informing students of other forms of sexual violence.

“I think people need to be aware of the different forms of sexual harassment to make sure they can recognize it if they see others doing it, if it is being done to them or if they have done something before that they didn’t realize wasn’t right,” Freedman said. “In addition, it is all too common nowadays for college students — mainly females — to experience some type of sexual assault during their college career and the school and students should do as much as they can to inform students and try to reform this.”

The training presents firsthand accounts of sexual assault and introduces students to complex concepts such as victim-blaming. Debra Perlmutter, an undecided freshman, said the program expanded her understanding of the nature of sexual assault.

“The training helped me understand how common sexual assault, rape and stalking are,” Perlmutter said. “Luckily, my high school did a decent job at teaching us about sexual assault so I knew a lot of the information already, but I did not know about how often alcohol is involved in sexual assaults and that more sexual assaults are from people the victim already knows rather than strangers. I now know what to look out for and to always be alert, which is very important while living on a college campus.”

For more information regarding the sexual assault prevention training program, contact HPPS.