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Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024
The Observer

Student Government launches ‘Red Zone Awareness Week’

On Monday at noon, the Executive Cabinet of Student Government held its first Red Zone Awareness Week event outside DeBartolo Hall.

Members of the cabinet gathered to hand out resources about sexual assault spread awareness about the “Red Zone” — the time between the start of the academic year and Thanksgiving break when more than 50% of college sexual assaults have occurred, according the Cabinet. Cabinet members explained that the sharp change of environment that students encounter as they arrive on campus, the new influx of students and widespread access to alcohol all contribute to this peculiarly hazardous time period.

According to the 2020 University climate survey, roughly 3% of Notre Dame undergraduates have experienced non-consensual sex while at Notre Dame. Many students never report instances of rape and sexual assault, so the actual proportion may be higher.

“We want it to be zero,” Aidan Rezner, student body vice president said.

The Executive Cabinet created the initiative to raise awareness of past trends and offer practical guidance, Lena Dougherty, a junior and director of Gender Relations: Title XI and Women’s Initiatives explained.

“This is a very vulnerable time for many people. A lot of people are going to be needing resources that we don’t know if they would have gotten otherwise,” she said.

Rezner affirmed the role of his administration in preventing incidents of sexual assault.

“Our goal as an administration is to ensure that every student feels safe on this campus, and we are here to spread the University’s resources. Also, we are here to give them tips about preventative measures that they might be able to take themselves to limit the damage. But ultimately, we want sexual assaults never to happen. We are working to move in that direction,” Rezner stated.

As a part of “Red Zone Awareness Week” the Executive Cabinet is also giving out “Shatter the Red Zone” pledges to residence halls to help show support for sexual violence survivors and prevention. This Friday, they are holding a “red out,” in which students will wear red to support sexual assault prevention. The Cabinet hopes that by emphasizing the labeling of the red zone, staff, professors and students alike will become more aware of the heightened risk of sexual assault at this time of year and then work to prevent it.