University of Tennessee works to change ‘rape culture,’ raise awareness of sexual assault

UT campus

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Some say sexual assault is an epidemic at college and university campuses across America and the University of Tennessee is educating students on why that has to change. The university is working toward fighting what they call a “rape culture.”

“UT is doing a good job of making sure that we know it’s a problem,” said freshman Emmanuel Nyenwe.

UT says stopping sexual assault on campus is everyone’s responsibility now. It’s not just “No means no.” You have to have a “yes.” T

“Vols help Vols and that’s what we’re about here at UT,” said Nyenwe.

More coverage: University of Tennessee Sexual Assault

That’s why Nyenwe is telling his friends about the red zone – not the one on the football field, but the term that describes the time period when most sexual assaults on campus happen from the beginning of the fall semester to Thanksgiving break.

“I feel like people tend to downplay it a lot and let it slide and that shouldn’t be the case,” said Nyenwe.

Ashley Blamey with the UT Health Education and Wellness Office says that red zone happens when students often are experiencing freedom for the first time in their lives.

“There is a lot of things that go into that like students being in a new environment, maybe making more higher risk choices and being with individuals they don’t quite know as well,” said Blamey.

Her office has been providing T-shirts along with other information at pop-up events around campus so students won’t buy into rape culture. The efforts make students like Will Harwell appreciate that his school is doing something.

“I think it’s very important. We’ve been so used to like, high school experiences – like living with your parents and being home and now we’re all out here on our own,” said Harwell.

The office has been handing out information cards at their pop-up events with statistics and resources for victims of sexual assault.

More resources:

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