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UOG battles sexual assault

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With Guam's high rates of sexual assault compared to the rest of the nation, one program at our university is taking a stand to help combat this. Sexual assault or harassment is a serious issue, whether on campus or off. The University of Guam's Violence Against Women Prevention Program is doing its part to tackle this issue head on.

Education coordinator Jean Macalinao said, "It's a three-year grant that basically aims to reduce crimes, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking on college campuses and this kind of grant exists basically because in recent years on college campuses there have been high rates of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking." She says while there haven't been any sexual assaults reported on UOG's Mangilao campus, the community problem is still evident, explaining, "In a survey that we conducted in fall of 2012, 29% of University of Guam female students reported that they had been a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking within the past 12 months."

9% reported they had experienced sexual assault, 15% domestic or dating violence, and 15% experienced stalking. That is roughly one-third of the female student population. Considering that underreporting is also an issue, these numbers are striking.

Victim services coordinator Danielle Concepcion says the program provides advocacy, crisis intervention, and safety planning, noting, "We do provide counseling services we also work with our Coordinating Community Response Team such as the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence, we work with GPD we also work with VARO and Healing Hearts as well as with Alee Shelter."

Services are free, and not only available to university students, but to men and women in the community as well. "They can definitely give us a call at 735-2890 Gene or I will definitely answer the phone, if not they can call one of our partner programs, ISA Psychological Services Center at 735-2883," said Macalinao.

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