Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault & Human Trafficking encourages college students to ‘StepIn’ and help end sexual assault this homecoming season

(Indianapolis, Ind.)  The Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault & Human Trafficking (ICESAHT) is encouraging college students this homecoming season to “StepIn” and help end sexual assault.

StepIn is a bystander intervention initiative developed by ICESAHT to eradicate sexual assault on college campuses and surrounding communities. StepIn is based on the following principles:  Stop, Think, Engage, and Prevent.

According to national statistics, only one in five college-age women who are sexually assaulted report the attack to police. Studies also show that college students are at the highest risk of sexual assault during the first few months of their first and second semesters. Further, one study reports that 15 percent of college women were raped while incapacitated during their first year of college.  Statistics are equally alarming for LGTBQ and gender non-conforming students.

“By educating and engaging students around the power that one person has in preventing behaviors that increase the risk of sexually violent behavior, we have the potential to change the conversation and the culture that too often puts the responsibility on potential victims,” said Tracey Horth Krueger, CEO of ICESAHT. “We encourage everyone to StepIn, as our initiative provides all students  with concrete and proactive ways so they can play a key role in prevention.”

Six Indiana college campuses actively have participated in StepIn:  Ball State University, Butler University, DePauw University, Goshen College, Indiana University Bloomington, Purdue University and Wabash College.

“Homecoming festivities often occur at a critical time in the first semester, putting  students at a higher risk for assaults,” said Burton Patterson, director of prevention and education, ICESAHT. “That’s why we will be raising awareness at our participating campuses and across Indiana to remind everyone  to step in and send a clear message that harmful, high risk behaviors are not acceptable and will be stopped. Making the choice to do nothing simply should not be an option.”

StepIn is unique to Indiana and is funded through a grant from the Indiana State Department of Health.

In addition to StepIn, ICESAHT also developed the Speak Up Speak Out Project (SUSOP), which educates and engages male fraternity members to change rape culture and eliminate the occurrence of sexual assault. SUSOP is a semester long program, and ultimately results in men who become activists in their fraternities and campuses. In 2017, ICESAHT partnered with four chapters of Beta Theta Pi at Butler University, DePauw University, Indiana University Bloomington, and Wabash College.

To connect directly with StepIn, email info@indianacesa.org.

About ICESAHT

ICESAHT empowers Indiana communities to prevent sexual assault and human trafficking and serve those impacted through comprehensive training, advocacy, public awareness and coordinated sexual assault services.