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Sexual assault study on campus in need of more participants

A new research study concerning campus response to sexual assault is looking for more participants on campus.

Project researcher Samantha Kopf said the study is on re-integrative shaming, a process of responding to a crime.

“The point of re-integrative shaming is to shame the offender for the act as opposed to the person,” Kopf.

Throughout Kopf’s Wartburg career, she has done a lot of research on sexual assault and works as a research adviser to the Wartburg Title XI committee.

Kopf said labeling someone as a sex offender degrades the humanity of that person as opposed to the act that they did.

The purpose of re-integrative shaming is to involve the perpetrator, victim, and community.

“Essentially it allows both members to enter back into their society without a stigma,” Kopf said.

Current systems on campuses involve a review board with a possibility of a suspension or expulsion.

Kopf said the goal of re-integrative shaming is to create a better response to the problem.

“One common research belief is that not a lot of people like to report because they are afraid of getting someone in trouble,” Kopf said.

Currently, re-integrative shaming is only being used in New Zealand and Australia for sexual assault and Kopf said it is very effective there.

“I hope bringing this to college campuses where we have this epidemic will help change the dialogue around what sexual assault is and help address the ways that we can inspire healing,” Kopf said.

Kopf said she will continue her research as she moves on to grad school

“It would be great to show a contrast in findings from a small institution vs. a large institution,” Kopf said

So far, Kopf said there have been a few participants but they need more and especially men.

“We need men too because most of our participants have been women, which is great, but we also need to know if men would be willing to participate. Obviously, the Wartburg community is both men and women,” Kopf said.

Kopf said the study will only take about an hour.

For those who are interested or would like to hear more, they can contact Kopf by email at samantha.kopf@wartburg.edu.

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