By: EMILY YUSSUM
Sexual violence: it’s the last thing anyone wants to have to worry about, especially anyone busy with his or her education. But campus security and bustling crowds of students and faculty aren’t always enough to ensure the safety of students.
IU South Bend has begun to hold its spring Bringing Recovery, Awareness, Voices and Engagement, or BRAVE, training events for IU students and faculty. The program, now in its second year, is part of the national “It’s on Us” campaign, which is promoted on all IU campuses.
The informative and peer-interactive events aim to train students with the mission of “understanding consent, how to be active bystanders who can safely interrupt and prevent sexually harmful behaviors, and have the professional development opportunity to become an IUSB peer leader.”
“To make sure students feel safe in school…that’s what we’re here for,” said April Lidinsky, director and associate professor of women’s and gender studies at IUSB.
Lidinsky hosted a BRAVE training event Thursday, Jan. 21, along with Elicia Scheretie-Brown, a graduate student in IUSB’s counseling program.
Scheretie-Brown and Lidinsky introduced students to just how real the possibilities of these assaults are on every campus, no matter the precautions. At the meeting, they taught students about gender stereotypes, rape culture and that sexual assaults affect everyone, students and nonstudents alike.
According to the National Institute of Justice, one in five women is assaulted in college, but sexual violence also influences men and those identifying as TGQN (Transgender, Genderqueer, Questioning, Nonconforming).
“We want everyone on the same page,” Lidinsky said. “We are swimming in a pool of sexuality. Sexual assaults are not just a women’s issue.”
The events also focus on how to become an active bystander by following the three D’s—direct, delegate and distract. This practice impacts the outcome of a potential sexual assault positively and in the safest manner.
“The program teaches students that being in an active community makes a difference and change in our culture,” Lidinsky said.
BRAVE training events will be held throughout the semester. Along with attending training, students can also register to train as a peer leader for the BRAVE program.
The next event will be from 3 to 4:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, in Fireside B in the University Grill, followed by a training from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, in Student Activities Center Room 225.
Students affected by sexual violence can receive judgment-free help and counsel from IUSB’s Student Counsel Center and the Health and Wellness Center.