The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo takes seriously its responsibility to create a safe environment on campus with zero tolerance for sexual harassment and assault. In support of this commitment, the UH Hilo Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) has a new program called Confidential Advocacy and Prevention Education (CAPE), which focuses on strengthening resources, awareness and preventative measures about sexual harassment and assault.

UH Hilo’s commitment to a safe environment is backed by a UH System policy (PDF) that specifically addresses sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. Unfortunately, the issues of sex assault and gender-based violence are prevalent on college campuses nationwide.

CAPE is headed by Destiny Rodriguez, one of the first students to graduate from UH Hilo with a bachelor of arts in gender and women’s studies. Constantly pursuing her passion, she became an administrative assistant with the campus’s OEO after graduation.

She now serves as a confidential advocate in the OEO, where she works with students, faculty, and staff to help them understand their rights, and the options and resources available to them. Because Rodriguez is a confidential resource, she is not required to report information to university administration.

Advocacy, Rodriguez says, is “making sure that students have a voice. Often times in gender-based violence that voice is taken from them, that power is taken from them, and so, how do we give that back?”

CAPE is hosting a Treasure Hunt on Thursday, April 26, from noon to 3:00 p.m. at the Campus Center Plaza. Participants can learn about healthy relationships and signs of unhealthy relationships. This event is open to all UH Hilo students with a valid student ID. Refreshments, provided by the Student Activities Council, will be offered while supplies last. This event is in collaboration with the Women’s Center.

For more information, contact Destiny Rodriguez.

Read more about CAPE at UH Hilo Stories.

A UH Hilo Stories article by Mikayla Toninato, a junior completing a semester at UH Hilo through the National Student Exchange program