Sex Assault Prevention Campaign Focuses on Bystander Intervention

Safe Campus, Strong Voices packages can help your institution raise awareness.
Published: August 9, 2012

“Man, we really got raped on that play.”

On college campuses (and in residences throughout the country), this comment is generally heard after a football team starts losing. Others in the room typically nod their heads sympathetically or just ignore it. The person using the term, of course, does not mean that his team was forced to do something sexual without consent; he is implying that the team did not do so well on the last play.

Still, rape is not a word that should be used casually, as victimization often impacts a person for a lifetime. The person using the word “rape” in regard to a football game may not be a victim himself and most individuals are not offenders; however, every person within the campus community is regularly presented with opportunities to be a good bystander – someone who models pro-social behaviors and intervenes when a potentially dangerous situation occurs.

September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month. This year, the Clery Center for Security On Campus (CCSOC) and Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment (PAVE) have partnered for the Safe Campus, Strong Voices campaign. This national initiative focuses on bystander intervention and victim empowerment. Safe Campus, Strong Voices provides tangible tools for both men and women to work together to create safer campuses.

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Every single day, students may see interactions like the one I’ve just mentioned that they know are unhealthy or unsafe. They hear classmates making jokes that minimize victimization or comments that are derogatory or abusive. Safe Campus, Strong Voices allows bystanders to speak out – to acknowledge that violence in any form is unacceptable. It lets students know that everyone has a role to play in ending violence on campus and provides them with tools to use to change their own environment.

“I also think the social media aspect of this campaign is unique and extremely necessary,” Angela Rose, executive director for Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment adds. “Students will be encouraged to share this critical information using Web sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. The goal of this campaign is to create a multi-faceted, month-long collegiate movement that sparks a national conversation about the prevention of campus violence.”

Colleges and universities that purchase the Safe Campus, Strong Voices campaign package receive a tool-kit for projects and events for the month of September, including the Safe Campus, Strong Voices: Your Voice campaign, which allows students to create short videos promoting positive bystander interactions and post them on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Each package also includes materials for an interactive art project, awareness and tabling materials, a social media guide, and an educational DVD titled “Speak Out and Stand Up” featuring actress Kristin Stewart.

For more information or to purchase a Safe Campus, Strong Voices campaign package contact:

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Abigail Boyer is the assistant director of communications for the Clery Center for Security On Campus. Photo courtesy SOC.

Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.



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