UCF to host mock sexual assault trial in Student Union
On Tuesday, UCF Victim Services will host its first ever mock sexual assault trial.
The mock trial will be held in the Pegasus Ballroom in the Student Union at 3 p.m. The trial itself will run for about an hour and a half, but a panel for discussion will take place afterward.
A jury will consist of ten to 12 people who will be randomly chosen from the audience; they will sit away from the crowd during the event, and will hand down a judgment at the end of the trial.
However, selected jurors won't be the only ones participating, audience members will be engaged as well.
"Students in the crowd will get a chance to text how they view the defendant - guilty or not guilty," said Christey Oberbeck of Victim Services. "Then we'll be able to see if the students agree with how the jury voted. It'll be very engaging."
The panel will consist of the people who participated in the trial, including local attorneys, a professor and a nurse from the Women's Health Clinic.
The trial will be dealing with the differences between consensual sex and rape. Consent is defined by Florida law as intelligent, knowing, and voluntary – being forced to say 'yes' isn't consent. Florida law also states that a person does not need to struggle or react physically to have not given consent.
The trial, although not an actual trial, can point to some real facts about violence on campus. In 2012, three rapes were reported, but in the first half of 2014, there were seven, according to the UCF Police Department. There were also three instances of "forcible fondling," which also qualifies as a sex crime.
However, these statistics, of course, do not include unreported incidents. The UCF Cares website lists that 13 percent of rape survivors report the crime, even though one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college. At least some of that might due to the next statistic – that 40 percent of survivors fear consequences from their attacker.
The website also offers links to resources for those who have been attacked, including links to report the crime, as well as other links to UCF Counseling and Psychological Services and Victim Services.