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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 11, 2007

RVAP Provides Whistles To Help Prevent Sexual Assault

The University of Iowa's Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) is using whistles to help stop sexual assaults on campus.

The WhistleSAFE program will provide free whistles to women, students, faculty and staff -- as well as present other educational programs -- to help women stay safe.

"The goal is to educate University of Iowa students about rape, prevention measures, and to supply whistles to as many students as possible," said Rachel Luzbetak, WhistleSAFE (tm) program assistant. "Students can carry these whistles on their key chains, and use them when they are in danger or see someone else in danger. University of Iowa students will learn that the sound of a whistle means, 'call 911.'"

She said the group has already distributed more than 1,500 whistles, each engraved with the 24-hour Rape Crisis line phone number, and has plans to order more. The whistles are free to UI students, faculty and staff, and are also available to the public for $1.

The program is being overseen by RVAP and the University of Iowa Police with funding provided by the UI Student Government. WhistleSAFE is based on WhistleSTOP™, a program that was successful at UI in the 1980s.

"WhistleSTOP was an effective rape prevention tool, stressing street safety measures," said Karla Miller, RVAP executive director. "We have updated this program and tailored it to meet the needs of the UI community today. It will be a vehicle for discussions not only on the recent sexual assaults at the university, but also acquaintance rape. Educating students about street safety is only the first step in increasing awareness and ending sexual assault."

Luzbetak and Allison will be coordinating and presenting WhistleSAFE speaking engagements on campus. They will also advertise the program to campus groups, classes and organizations.

"The effectiveness of this program stems from the attraction the public has to a proactive approach to stopping sexual violence and increasing awareness about safety measures that reduce the risk of sexual assault," said Brad Allison, a crime prevention specialist with the University of Iowa Police.

Scott Wilson, WhistleSAFE program assistant, said the whistles will also call attention to other services the organization offers.

"Each whistle comes with an information card that lists street safety/rape reduction tactics, as well as the RVAP Web site, address, and phone number, and that can be carried in a wallet or backpack," said Wilson.

Whistles are available at the RVAP office at 320 S. Linn St. Luzbetak and Allison will also be passing out whistles, brochures, fliers, and answering questions in the dining halls the first week of spring semester. They will be in Hillcrest Hall Jan. 16, Burge Hall on Jan. 1, and Mayflower Hall on Jan. 18.

Groups and organizations will also be able to purchase the whistles from RVAP for delivery or pick-up. More whistles will be ordered as needed.  For more information about WhistleSAFE, or to arrange a speaking engagement, please contact Rachel Luzbetak at RVAP at 319-335-6001. The UI Department of Public Safety can be reached by phone at 319-335-5022, or go online at for more information regarding sexual assaults and personal safety.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Rachel Luzbetak, Rape Victim Advocacy Program, 319-335-6001; Tom Snee, UI News Service, 319-384-0010,