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P.E.A.C.E prevents sexual assault

By Alexis Benton
On September 1, 2005

As the school year begins students are introduced to a new environment with many unfamiliar faces. Though the college lifestyle is centered upon interpersonal communication, what many students are unaware of is the fact that most sexual assaults occur during the first twelve weeks of school. This happens because many students, the majority being female freshmen, are unaware of such information.The lack of knowledge on such a sensitive subject increases the chance of being a victim of sexual assault. Here at Prairie View, there is a prevention and advocacy program that offers assistance to anyone that has been involved in a sexual assault crime.

The P.E.A.C.E project which stands for: Prevention, Education, Awareness, Courage and Elimination, works to help victims become survivors and take control over their lives.

The project director, Sylvia Cedillo, founded the program in the spring of 2000, shortly after the tragic incident involving Kirsten Tarver, a Prairie View student that was killed on campus by her boyfriend who then turned the gun on himself.

Gay Wells, the administrative assistant over the program stated, "This information is very crucial for students to know, most importantly female freshmen. They need to know that it could happen to anyone I know, I've been there."

Some of the services that are offered include information on victimization, assistance with protective orders and filing police reports. Though it does not give counseling, it refers victims to counselors located on campus for additional assistance.

Students who wish to seek more information about the program can visit the office located at 116 Owens-Franklin Health Ctr., or by email at; all inquiries are strictly confidential.

This program does not want to discourage student relationships but help prevent any form of sexual assault. Some advice that students should follow would be to report any allegations immediately for your safety, and to remember to play it safe when dating. The majority of assault cases happen between two people who have known each other over a period of time.

Wells offered this advice, "Keep critical conversation and make sure you have common ground with that someone. Take it slow, you are young and have so much more to experience.

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