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UC Adds New Bystander Intervention Program to Prevent Gender-Based Violence


The University of Cincinnati’s Women’s Center and Student Wellness Center, along with various campus and city organizations, are implementing a new bystander intervention program in a collaborative effort to combat gender-based violence and support survivors with additional initiatives centered on leadership development, consent culture and advocacy.

Date: 8/18/2016 12:00:00 AM
By: Jac Kern
Phone: (513) 556-1825

UC ingot  

Moving into residence halls, learning the campus layout and purchasing books are all crucial first steps for new students coming into the University of Cincinnati. UC organizations are coming together to make sure students are also having important conversations about gender-based violence — which includes sexual assault, intimate partner violence and stalking — learning about everything from consent to survivor support from the moment they step foot on campus.

The period between when classes begin and when students leave for Thanksgiving break is sometimes referred to the “Red Zone” when there is a higher risk for sexual assault on college campuses. In order to combat this issue, UC Women’s Center, the Student Wellness Center, student leaders and other campus entities are wasting no time in educating students and providing resources on these topics.

Initiatives

  • Bystander Intervention: Most people are familiar with the idea of “If you see something, say something,” and that is the basic premise behind Bringing in the Bystander, an interactive, researched and evaluated curriculum that uses a community of responsibility approach. A bystander is anyone who observes a situation that looks like someone could use some help. The program teaches bystanders how to safely intervene before, during, and after an incident of gender-based violence. The Student Wellness Center, Women’s Center and Resident Education & Development (RED) are working together to promote the idea of being active bystanders on campus, in residence halls and across the city. One first big step is training student government leaders so they can become ambassadors of bystander intervention and consent culture.
  • Educational Presentations: Students working with the Women’s Center, Student Wellness Center and UC’s Council for Creating a Safer Campus Culture have developed a menu of presentations that focus on gender-based violence prevention and education outreach. Topics include Intimate Partner Violence 101, Stalking 101, Healthy Relationships, Gender Roles and Power Dynamics, Sexual Assault and the Law, How to Help a Friend and From Rape Culture to Consent Culture. Programs run 60-90 minutes and can be requested through the Women’s Center. View the full menu here.
  • Consent: Bearcats get consent — that’s the message UC is spreading on campus. Consent is informed, freely given, mutual and can be withdrawn at any time — and it’s something that can’t be given if a person is intoxicated. The Women’s Center is helping to normalize the idea and conversations about consent by hosting pop-up events like Consent Crafternoons, where students can tie-dye T-shirts, make buttons and work on other D.I.Y. projects while learning more about the topic in a casual atmosphere. Read UC’s full definition of consent here.
  • Advocacy and Survivor Support: For those who do experience sexual assault or have in the past, UC offers many modes of support, including an on-campus advocate from local rape crisis center Women Helping Women. Read more about that here.

Events

  • Welcome Weekend (Aug. 17-21)
    • Consent Crafternoon: 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, McMicken Commons.
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Week (Aug. 29-Sept. 2)
    • Throughout the week: Consent Crafternoons and tabling on MainStreet and McMicken Commons, where students can get information about what constitutes sexual assault, what it means to get consent and where to go in case they’ve experienced an assault. On Friday, Sept. 2, students are encouraged to wear their tie-dyed shirts made during Consent Crafternoons, take photos around campus and post on social media using the hashtag #BearcatsGetConsent.
    • Bringing in the Bystander open-campus training: 2-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, TUC 423. (All students are welcome, but space is limited. Register here.)
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October)
    • Red Flag Campaign (Oct. 3-7): This campaign uses a bystander intervention strategy to address and prevent sexual assault, dating violence and stalking on college campuses. The campaign encourages friends and other campus community members to say something when they see warning signs ("Red Flags") for sexual assault, dating violence or stalking in a friend’s relationship. Programming around campus will detail the warning signs of intimate partner violence and where to go for help.
    • Take Back the Night March (Oct. 5): This student-centered event empowers survivors by marching through Clifton at night with signs and support from allies.

Resources

Volunteers are always needed for these and other events. More information, support and details on how to get involved: Student Wellness Center, Women’s Center, LGBTQ Center, Resident Education & Development, Title IX, Women Helping Women. All incoming students are asked to complete the Think About It program.