SJC Takes SHARP Turn to Address Sexual Assault


Photo courtesy of the Office of Student Life

Officer Eric Lister (right) demonstrates how to fend off an attacker during the first SHARP course offered on the South campus as part of a district-wide initiative to prevent sexual violence.

One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. More than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault to authorities.

Moreover, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center further states on its website, “63.6 percent of men at one university, who self-reported acts qualifying as rape or attempted rape, admitted to committing repeat rapes.”

In response to growing concerns about sexual violence on college campuses, San Jacinto College is hosting Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention (SHARP) courses on all three campuses. SHARP is a unisex self-defense course developed from statistic-based research that trains participants first to avoid assault, but then to react defensively if confronted with an attack.

According to Amanda Rose, Student Life Coordinator at San Jacinto College Central Campus, SHARP focuses on what works most effectively in threatening situations “by emphasizing the principle that less is best.”

“SHARP material is kept simple, so it is easy to learn, and more importantly, is easy to retain and use,” Rose said.

Meanwhile, Instructors teaching the courses at San Jac include both SJCPD police officers and personnel from the Office of Student Life. Each instructor participates in training sessions to be certified to teach SHARP courses.

“We all attend a week-long program that is accredited by Texas A&M University,” Rose said. “The week of training consisted of a classroom practical, along with the physical aspect of techniques learned.”

Although this is the first time SHARP is offered at San Jac, Rose noted, it is a program that will leave a lasting impact on participants.

“It’s always good to provide a program for personal knowledge for students,” she said. “There has to be a certain amount of awareness on a college campus.”

Likewise, for this reason, the SHARP program came highly recommended by other colleges and San Jac followed suit.

“If a student leaves with one new piece of information on how to protect themselves or leaves more aware of their safety, it’s worth the investment,” Rose said.”

Although Rose warned participants should plan on learning moves to protect themselves and fight back if necessary, she noted physical strength is not a determining factor in self-defense.

“You don’t have to be the biggest or most muscular person to take down someone,” Rose said. “We will focus on teaching you the pressure points to protect yourself. It’s not always about size.”

The final SHARP class will be held Nov. 19 at noon in the Ballroom (C14.264) of the Student Center on the Central campus.