It's an issue that Missoulians have been dealing with for almost two years now, sexual assault.

It was sexual assault, and the way the University of Montana and the City of Missoula had dealt with the issue that brought investigations by the U.S. Justice Department, Civil Rights Division, the Department of Education and even the NCAA to Missoula. The recent conviction of Beau Donaldson and the not guilty verdict in the Jordan Johnson trial are still fresh in the minds of the public, both here, and across the country.

Professor Victoria Banyard is visiting Missoula on Monday evening to participate in the President's Lecture Series on the University of Montana campus. In collaboration with the Department of Psychology and the Women's and Gender Studies Program, Banyard will address the subject of "Sexual Assault as a Societal Problem in America."

In a Monday afternoon interview, Banyard addressed the issue of the aftermath of the Jordan Johnson trial. She said she understood how a young woman might not want to report a sexual assault, after seeing what the accuser went through, only to have the man she accused be found not guilty.

Banyard said it's up to the entire community to come together to encourage a woman to report a sexual assault. She was encouraged by the efforts made so far by the University of Montana and the cooperation by the City of Missoula to make the process less traumatic and more welcoming.

Banyard said the PETSA (Personal Empowerment Through Self Awareness) training required for all students by the University is an excellent beginning, but that more step;s must be taken to keep the awareness level high

Banyard is a professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire.

Professor Victoria Banyard