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UCSC Cuts Rape Prevention Education

After 30 years of serving UCSC sexual assault victims, the program for Rape Prevention Education has been disbanded due to budget cuts. The news that Rape Prevention Education Coordinator Gillian Greensite would have a different job next year, educating about STIs, pregnancy and alcohol—all of which she has no experience teaching—came on Thursday, June 3, during a meeting with UCSC administrators. Since the program’s dissolution, Greensite has retired and a Facebook Coalition to Save UCSC Rape Prevention Education has formed in protest with 1,185 members as of press time. Nina Milliken, the group’s leader, posted the following statement to the coalition’s Facebook page: “UCSC’s Rape Prevention Education Center is a vitally important resource for the hundreds of women (and men) at UCSC who have experienced a (or many) sexual assault(s). Rape survivors, partners of rape survivors, friends of rape survivors, and family members of rape survivors will have no where to turn for good advice. We need to fight this!”

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written by Jeff Milliken, MD, July 19, 2010
19JUL10

Dear Madam and Sir,

I write as an outsider to your institution. I am an admirer of education and of higher education and especially of those who promote graduate education. I am writing now in hope of stimulating the publication of more data on the decision to close down the Rape Prevention Education program at UCSC. Do you have data with historical controls at least regarding the presence of efficacy of the program? I write with the prejudice that it is an effective program. If it is effective, how many rapes have been prevented? What is the cost of the program? Most prevention programs are very cost effective, they simply do not appear as assets that can be spent. No budgeting or accounting process gives credit for the lack of expense for prevented problems. In health budgets there is never a line for the millions or billions of money saved by the cavity prevention programs run by the dental health profession. What is the cost of a rape (tangible and intangible)? If the program is effective, is it being presented to other campuses so that more students will have the benefit of not being sexually assaulted? If not, why not? Should this program be expanded to high school curricula in near by schools?

As you know, race like poverty is mostly invisible. You cannot look at a person and see that he or she has been raped. You cannot look at a person and determine that the individual is wealthy or poor. This is a safe group people who will likely not demonstrate that their once raped condition could have been prevented. When the program is not funded and the rate of rape is goes back to its pre-intervention rate, who will be responsible?

Like many programs and especially prevention programs, the cost of the program is born by the institution that presents the program to its citizens. We all owe at least a debt of thanks to the UCSC. The benefits of the program, rapes prevented, are only to the community that has not been raped. The risks of the loss of the program are not carried by the USCS. They are carried by the men and women who will become rape victims as a result of the loss of a program that was presented to the citizens by raising awareness and letting all learn of the devastation of rape and the issues that predispose to the commission of the crime.

I urge you to publish the data requested and to share with your community, the UCSC, the rational, not just the easy economic rational, that permits you to come to this decision.

I am sincerely yours,

Jeff Milliken, MD

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