Volunteers join response team to aid assault victims

Every 21 hours, a sexual assault occurs on a college campus, 90 percent of which are never reported to authorities. This means that out of the approximately 417 victims each year, only about 42 receive the medical attention they need.

Geneseo First Response has teamed up with the Rape Crisis Services provided by Planned Parenthood of Rochester, N.Y. to increase the safety and security of the Geneseo campus.

The Student Advocate Response Team will provide free transportation to Strong Memorial Hospital for students seeking medical care and/or forensic examination after a sexual assault. Trained advocates will accompany the victims to the hospital, where they will then meet with Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.

“Student transportation is something Geneseo needs to pay attention to, especially for medical issues,” said senior Sadie Baker, a student volunteer. “[SARTeam] provides a very much needed service to the campus.”

SARTeam is made up of volunteers, both drivers and advocates, trained extensively to help comfort victims. All SARTeam volunteers will become New York State-certified Rape Crisis Advocates, and will provide advocacy at the hospital, emotional support and resources to survivors of sexual assault.

“Anyone who genuinely cares about the well-being of others, or has the drive to help people, especially in a critical time of need should [volunteer],” Baker said.

Some of the goals of this new program are to bring a renewed sense of security to campus and to make Geneseo a safer, more comfortable community.

The SARTeam is currently recruiting volunteers. There will be an open interest meeting for potential volunteers on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. in the M.O.S.A.I.C. room in the MacVittie College Union.

Volunteer advocates will attend training sessions on Sept. 21 5-10 p.m., Sept. 22 9-4 p.m., Sept. 28 5-10 p.m. and Sept. 29 9-3 pm. Those interested in serving as drivers for victims are encouraged to contact 1st Assistant Chief of Geneseo First Response senior Gideon Cohen by emailing gc5@geneseo.edu.