USA Students to Participate in Open Dialogue to Help End Violence
Posted on September 9, 2016 by Joy Washington
Students at the University of South Alabama participate in a program to help end violence on campus, specifically sexual assault. And, the Violence Prevention Alliance, or VPA, which is made up of a volunteer-based committee of campus and community leaders, has launched the 2016-2017 Girls’ Night Out and Bro Code prevention and support programs.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, sexual violence is more prevalent at college compared to other crimes.
Girls’ Night Out is led by advocates of Lifeline’s Mobile Rape Crisis Center and Bro Code is led by male peers who are trained by Lifeline’s Mobile Rape Crisis Center.
The upcoming student programs at South include:
Girls’ Night Out-A four-night conversational program for female students centered around healthy relationships, personal safety, communication and self-esteem to include prizes, free food, t-shirts and more. The first session was held on Sept. 7 with subsequent sessions on Sept. 14, 21 and 28 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom.
Bro Code-A bystander centered intervention program for male students, which focuses on healthy relationships and sexual assault prevention with free food, t-shirts and more. It takes place Sept. 27 and Oct. 4 from5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom.
Courtney Diener, Title IX and violence prevention and education specialist at the University, along with a team of VPA members, planned and organized the programs for this academic year. And the student peer team, Sexual Assault and Violence Educators, or SAVE, made up of students who are men and women, will work alongside Diener to help students.
“These students are really awesome and dedicated,” she said. “They have spent two days in training and have earned more than 600 service hours. They are knowledgeable and ready to serve our students.”
The VPA’s mission is to create and sustain a collaborative, comprehensive community effort in reducing and eliminating violence, particularly sexual victimization and harassment. The SAVE students play a huge role in providing students with prevention tips, while supporting other students who have been victims of violence. They also work with the trained professionals from the VPA.
“The students at South get to feel empowered and attend events where they can speak freely and feel no judgement,” said Aisia Snow, speech and hearing major from Tuscaloosa. “As SAVE members, we go through 12 hours of training, and we are well-prepared to serve other students. “
The VPA also promotes efforts to prevent victimization of USA students, faculty, staff and community members. In addition, the committee identifies appropriate interventions aimed at reducing violence and provides educational programs that address violence in our community.
Students who have attended the Girls Night Out programs said they left with important knowledge and a memorable experience of networking with others.
“At Girls Night Out, I was able to connect with other young women during the small group sessions,” said Sarah Strayhorn, a psychology major from Mobile. “We were encouraged to speak openly and honestly about issues we might otherwise shy away from.”
And, the students who have attended the Bro Code events felt the sessions were very informative and helpful.
“The food was a great bonus,” said Carl A. Thomas Jr., president of the African-American Student Association. “But what really impressed me was the degree of seriousness the attendees brought to the event. Rape happens on college campuses. To this day, it is still a very terrible and consistent problem, plaguing women and men. The program is very much needed, and I appreciate that it plants a seed in the minds of students of what’s right and what’s wrong.”
This event is funded by numerous campus student and community organizations.
SAVE is accepting new members. And, the VPA is also open to students, faculty, staff and community partners. For more information about how to become a member of SAVE or VPA, or to find out more about Girls’ Night Out and Bro Code, email Diener at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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