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Say kNOw MORE to sexual misconduct

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Saying no more to sexual misconduct in Guam and in the region, a group of students from the University of Guam put together a "Sexual Misconduct Awareness Regional Toolkit" known as S.M.A.R.T. to stand up against sexual violence.

Consent is like swimming--that's the analogy students from UOG's Master of Public Administration class are using to teach the community about consent.

Part of project kNOw MORE with the Guam Coalition of Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence is to educate the public.

According to the tools, consent is a "freely given agreement to engage in sexual activities" and "without consent, it is considered sexual misconduct."

"Consent comes in many different shapes and forms and just cause it's consent yesterday doesn't mean it's going to be consent today," Taylor Taitague explained. "Just cause someone said yes last week doesn't mean they're going to say yes this week. Consent is a certain thing and that's what people need to know."

According to statistics, Guam has the third highest number of reported forcible rapes per capita, with 68 reported rapes per 100,000 people. But these students believe many more cases go unreported here on Guam and in neighboring islands.

"The main goal is to have this distributed throughout our region," Taitague said.

Translated into Pohnpeian, Chuukese, and Palauan, Taitague said it's about using familiar examples to empower survivors to speak out.

"Most importantly we want to reach out to the victims we're but a small piece of a bigger movement to let victims know that it is okay that there are people out there who do understand and who are willing to listen to these issues because it's a really big thing and everyone needs to get involved and help," he said.

The curriculum is set to be used in classrooms in coordination with a mobile app that provides additional resources.

Learning new ways to combat sexual misconduct, Taitague gives advice to fighting back.

"Just stand up for the victims," he said. "Just as a bystander from what we know from what we researched we're here to listen to your problem and we want to help in the best way we can."

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