SVSU uses grant money to expand on sexual assault education, prevention
More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report their assault, according to the National Sexual Assault Resource Center.
This is part of why Michigan’s First Lady Sue Snyder is giving grant money to colleges to help with sexual assault education and prevention.
Saginaw Valley State University is one of 13 Michigan universities that received funding this past year, allowing for programs like Bringing in the Bystander to hit the ground running.
The goal is to stop sexual assault before it happens.
"Being a student on campus, it [sexual assault] can happen anywhere and everywhere,” Emily Wahl said.
Wahl is a sophomore at Saginaw Valley State University studying accounting, but in her spare time she’s not a student.
In fact, she’s a teacher.
She teaches other students how to intervene before a situation escalates to sexual assault or violence through SVSU’s Bringing in the Bystander Program.
Whether it's stepping in, or contacting a professional, Wahl said she is showing others that doing something is better than just standing by.
"It does lead our facilitators to have a discussion going on about certain situations that they've been through where they should've done something… realized they could've done something to prevent the outcome,” she said.
J.J. Boehm, a rep with the university, said they are working to combat sexual assault on campus head-on.
"Sexual assault has to be an issue that's of importance to universities nationwide,” he said. SVSU is no exception to that."
He added that what makes this program so special it that it’s student-driven.
"To see how much ownership students have taken for this program, I think, shows how much the SVSU student community cares for one another,” Boehm said.
Recently, he said they trained 30 others to facilitate the program, both students and staff.
This is thanks to a $25,000 grant from the State of Michigan’s Campus Sexual Assault Program, pioneered by Sue Snyder.
Wahl said she hopes the program will lead to a ripple effect.
''Once someone does something there is more likely someone else to follow,” she said.
Campus leaders said at least a thousand students will receive the training at SVSU by December 2018.
Sue Snyder released a statement to FOX66/ NBC25 News saying she's proud of the Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program and the resources it provides to colleges and universities to help strengthen sexual assault awareness and prevention efforts on campus.