Lifestyle

Fighting against sexual assault

Six male Temple students are working with nonprofit ROAR for Good to raise awareness of sexual assault.

One in four women will become victims of sexual assault during their college years, and one in five women overall have experienced rape during their lifetime.

“This statistic is pretty staggering, especially when you consider the odds of it happening to someone you know,” said senior entrepreneurship major Vinnie Paolizzi.

This semester, Paolizzi and his five senior classmates Mike Dooley, a marketing major; Kevin Curran, a marketing major with a minor in entrepreneurship; Alex Polovoy, a marketing major with a minor in entrepreneurship; Kevin Quigley, a marketing major; and Conor Burke, a media studies and production major with a minor in business studies, are working on the 10-10-10 Project with Jean Wilcox from the Fox School of Business.

With 10-10-10, students start out with $10 and attempt to multiply it by 10 as many times as possible to raise money for certain charities and causes. These students teamed up with ROAR for Good, a company that produces fashionable and smart jewelry to help women caught in dangerous situations, according to its website.

ROAR for Good was founded by Yasmine Mustafa and Anthony Gold. Mustafa, a 2006 Temple alumna who majored in entrepreneurship, is the company’s CEO.

“I was shocked and grateful when they reached out to us,” Mustafa said. “Men have a different platform than women and are often more likely to be listened to when they voice their concern about these issues.”

Curran pitched the idea of working with ROAR, and the five others jumped on board. The group agreed more male students involved would hopefully provide a different perspective on the issue of sexual assault and make others perceive it differently.

They were motivated to raise awareness because they all have important women in their lives, whether they are sisters, mothers or close friends.

“We feel it’s a very strong issue here because Temple always has the negative stigma that it’s a good school, but located in a dangerous area,” Dooley said.

Because of ROAR’s startling rape statistics and the recent sexual assault of a Temple student, the five students involved feel people on campus need to become more educated on sexual violence against women.

ROAR’s first product, Athena, is aimed at helping women feel safe and empowered while reducing possible instances of sexual assault. When feeling threatened, users can push the button on the device to activate an alarm and send alerts from their smartphone to the authorities and to a preset emergency contact list.

Five percent of Athena’s sales will be donated to nonprofits centered around women’s protection to raise awareness and educate others. The public can pre-order Athena starting today and it will become available March 2016.

This past Wednesday, Oct. 14, the six students held a Quizzo event at Maxi’s to promote ROAR’s mission and raise money for its manufacturing costs. The bar had various drink specials and contributed a small donation.

Later this semester, they hope to set up a table at one of Philadelphia’s Run215 5k races to raise awareness for women who get assaulted during runs.

“We want to branch out and not only stick to the issues on college campuses,” Dooley said.

Gold feels more men taking a stand for women’s rights and safety needs to become normal behavior.

“It’s inspiring to see young men stepping up,” Gold said. “We call these things ‘women’s issues,’ but they are society’s issues.”

Paolizzi said they should stand up as women’s allies in order to cause any radical changes.

“This is a really big issue that needs a lot of rethinking and reforming in their heads,” he said. “The culture surrounding college guys needs to change in a lot of different ways.”

Brooke Williams can be reached at brooke.shelby.williams@temple.edu.

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