Katie Childs: Preventing Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence

Katie Childs is the coordinator of sexual assault and interpersonal violence prevention and education at DePauw University. This is a brand-new position on DePauw’s campus, and I got the opportunity to sit down with Katie and discuss the position and what she hopes to achieve.

Her Campus: Thank you for meeting me today, Ms. Childs! Would you please tell me a little bit about your position? What do you do?

Katie Childs: Sure! Well, the job is new at DePauw and I’m the first person to have this position here. The support at DePauw for prevention of assault is great, which is really good. People genuinely want to make a difference. Of course, I wish that we didn’t need the job, but the problems of sexual assault do exist and are very complicated, which means they require complicated solutions. My job is to help find those solutions and to help students break down taboos about discussing topics concerning sexuality.

HC:  That sounds like a lot of responsibility. What is your favorite part of your job?

KC: Definitely getting to work with students. Even though there isn’t a very large age gap between me and the students on campus, I always learn something from them. Students have good ideas, which can help me craft programming and services for them. It helps when people who are being affected by the programming and services get input about what they want—I think being able to communicate with students as frequently as I do is valuable!

HC: What’s your least favorite part of your job?

KC: Honestly, figuring out where to go for copy paper and business cards and things like that! I think that comes with having a new position—I really didn’t inherit much when I started working a job that previously didn’t exist.

HC: Would you tell me about the sorts of things you’ve been doing on campus?

KC: I’ve started small by doing tabling events where students can have discussions and put questions out there. I want to get students thinking about sexual health, sexual assault prevention, how can we take a positive perspective on these things. Developing communication skills and breaking down stigma is key. I’ve also done some presentations for various Greek organizations and athletic teams about what it means to be sexually healthy. But I’d like to open this programming to all students, not just specific groups. Lastly, I’m really interested in peer education models. I’d like to train students and then let them work with others on campus.

HC: Is there anything you’d like to change about the way things are done on DePauw’s campus?

KC: Just big picture things. Breaking down stigma is important. If we emphasize that sexual health is part of everyone’s life and give people skills to break down societal barriers, we’ll have a healthier society.  

HC: Is there anything you really like about what DePauw has done in the past in the way of sexual health? Anything you’d like to stay the same?

KC: Honestly, all the consent stickers I see everywhere. These hold lots of power, and they’re a visible reminder to students but, at the same time, not a big deal. It’s something that helps us become more comfortable talking about sexual health and normalizes it!