Xenia Daily Gazette
WILBERFORCE — Central State University is increasing its resources dedicated to sexual assault prevention and training through a partnership with Project Woman.
Project Woman, a Springfield-based organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault, has brought the group’s Campus Advocacy Program to CSU. An advocate is stationed on campus with open office hours where students, faculty and staff have access to resources, consultation and advocacy services. During freshmen orientation, Project Woman offered bystander intervention and consent training for male and female students.
“Through the full scale implementation of our #NOMEANSKNOW Campaign this year, we are wanting to make sure our campus community, especially students, are aware of their responsibility to engage in preventing acts of sexual violence on and off campus,” said Dr. Stephanie Krah, CSU vice-president for student affairs and enrollment management. “It is vital that college students stand up and say no these acts will not occur on our campus.”
The partnership addresses several recommendations that the Ohio Department of Higher Education made to all Ohio colleges and universities to improve prevention and response to sexual assault. Project Woman and Central State hope to build access to victim’s services and supports, ensure a confidential reporting mechanism and give a comprehensive approach to advocacy on campus.
CSU strives to be proactive by arming the men and women on its campus with prevention strategies they can use to stop sexual violence against women.
“A clear role has been defined for bystanders in preventing violence against women,” said Laura Baxter, executive director, Project Woman. “Bystanders can help to create an environment where those that would do harm or perpetrate violence get a clear message that the community will not stand idly by; they will use their actions and voice to say, no more.”
Central State’s peer-to-peer mentoring group for male students, Man-Up Mondays, used the bystander intervention training to kick-off its fall meetings. The workshop facilitated by Project Woman staff and led by Dr. Gene Moore, interim dean, University College, focused on taking a leadership role and individual accountability.
“This was a good group to introduce these strategies to,” Moore said. “Man-Up Mondays is a safe haven for these young men to express themselves freely.”
Man-Up Mondays, launched in Spring 2016, is a pilot program for the university. The program targets freshman but is open to all male students seeking strategies and solutions to deal with topics ranging from student life to relationship concerns. The program’s mission is to help students forge positive relationships and build essential skills needed for success beyond the university environment.
A veteran of the group shared, “We typically do not come from communities that encourage stepping into situations that are not our problem.” The junior said, “This teaches us to step-up and take the initiative. We’re taught to go from being bystanders to leaders.”
Content provided by Central State University.