About Greeks Against Sexual Assault
In an effort to further target the Greek community, GASA was created through CVPP in the spring of 2007. A class was developed and all Greek chapters were encouraged to have a representative enroll. The first class in the fall of 2007 had 16 representatives who were educated on the facts about sexual assault and the resources available on campus. The final project for the class was for each representative to go back and present their new knowledge to their own chapters.
Due to the enormous success of the pilot program, the class will be offered on a bi-annual basis and we look forward to sharing the program with many campuses in the coming months.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
March 4, 2010 by Lindsay Tigar
She was eighteen and accepted into the college she always wanted to attend. She arrived on campus as a bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed freshman, ready to embark on a new journey and start a new adult life.
But something was off.
She didn’t fit in. She didn’t feel like she could make friends. She felt alone and trapped. She didn’t like her classes, her roommate was difficult to get along with, and she felt like she had made a huge mistake in choosing a college. In a desperate attempt to make friends, she traveled to a different university nearby to visit a high school friend.
After a few drinks, she joined her friend at a fraternity party where she was greeted with a warm welcome, and more alcohol then she had ever imagined. After guzzling down a few more cheap-labeled beers, making chit-chat and new friends, things started to become hazy. She vaguely remembers being led up a flight of stairs, but her memory goes blank in an instant.
The next morning, she woke up next to a naked man she didn’t know who he was; she was without panties and without a recollection of what happened the night before. With tears and fear both streaming inside and outside her body, she made her way back to her friend’s dorm room. Back to a friend who left her at the party with a man she doesn’t even remember his name.
She would later visit the emergency room without her family’s support, end a relationship with a boyfriend who promised to stand by her side through anything, and switch schools to get away from panic attacks and uncomfortable confrontations.
Her whole life changed in an evening.
What happened to one of my closest friends is not uncommon. In fact, it happens all the time and especially on college campuses. While it’s terribly sad, sexual assault and rape statistics are only growing, and women are primarily the victims.
Efforts to end sexual assault crimes are however, on an upward trend. Organizations like Greeks Against Sexual Assault (GASA) are trying to raise awareness and help women to become more educated on what sexual assault is and how they can prevent it from happening to them or to someone they love.
Kingsley Grafft, founder of GASA, took some time to sit down with ChickSpeak and share some valuable insight into what sexual assault is, how to team up with GASA and how to protect yourself and every chick you know:
ChickSpeak: What is Greeks Against Sexual Assault (GASA)?
Kingsley Grafft: Greeks Against Sexual Assault is a national organization that words towards increasing awareness, educating, and eliminating sexual assault and dating violence from the Greek community through peer education and activism amongst sororities and fraternities.
CS: Where did you come up with idea and inspiration for GASA?
KG: As an intern with the University of California, Davis’ Campus Violence Prevention Program in the spring of 2007 I was given one task: find a way to get sororities and fraternities involved with sexual assault and domestic violence prevention on campus.
One thing led to another and I came up with the idea of GASA as a quarter long class. After doing some research I found that Colorado State University had a similar program and contacted them for more information. In the fall of 2007, GASA was taught for the first time and was a huge success. Things seemed to just spiraled from there and eventually I was able to transform GASA into a national organization with the help of some amazing individuals.
CS: What are the top three things college women should be aware of about sexual assault?
KG: 1. It can happen to anyone and if it happens to you it is never your fault. Be compassionate to the survivors you know.
2. College women are most likely to be assaulted by someone they know.
3. Always look out for your friends. You will never regret or think ‘what if’ after speaking up if you see a potentially dangerous situation.
CS: What is your goal with GASA?
KG: My goal with GASA continues to be to educate and provide resources to as many people as possible. If I can make a positive impact in the life of one other person, then GASA will have been a success.
CS: How can college women become involved with GASA?
KG: If college students are interested in becoming involved with GASA they can visit our website. There they will find our syllabus and curriculum. Also, on our website are a variety of options for how to create GASA on their individual campuses.
CS: How can young women personally raise awareness about sexual assault?
KG: Speak up. Talk about the issue with your friends, talk about what it means to have a healthy relationship. Rape and sexual assault are such depressing issues and too often people avoid bringing them up in conversation.
But, in order to eliminate these problems we have to speak up. Talk to your parents, siblings, classmates, friends, sorority sisters, fraternity brothers, girlfriends, boyfriends, professors, and anyone else who will listen. This issue has impacted so many people on a variety of levels. By speaking about the issue we can work together to raise awareness and come up with innovative prevention techniques.
While speaking up, we can also learn to be excellent listeners. Sometimes people just want someone to listen while they tell their own story. As listeners, it is important to remember that we do not have to have all the answers, but it is our responsibility to help that person find the resources he or she needs.
CS: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
KG: Over the next several years I hope to become a middle school or high school English teacher in California. Eventually I want to get married and have a family of my own. GASA will continue to exist as long as it is making a positive difference and people are benefiting from the organization. Where GASA will go, and how it will continue to grow is still up in the air.
CS: What other organizations do you work with to help with sexual assault awareness?
KG: The members of my Advisory Board are involved with a variety of companies, organizations, and universities. We all work together to promote sexual assault awareness. While I was in middle school and high school, and since I’ve been home from college I’ve been volunteering with STAND! Against Domestic Violence in Northern California.
CS: At ChickSpeak, we’re always looking for new music and movies to fall in love with. What books can’t you put down right now? What’s the last song you downloaded on iTunes?
Lindsay Tigar is the Editor-at-Large for ChickSpeak and hopes every chick will all she can do to raise awareness and protect herself and other chicks against sexual assault.