Learn How to Put an End to Sexual Violence
By Eric Jenkins, Special to the Live Wire
Ending sexual violence is the goal of the program “Where Do You Stand” being held Thursday, April 30, from 2-3 p.m. in the Great Path Academy Community Commons.
Hosted by the Sexual Assault Crisis Center of New Britain, the program will try to engage participants to help end sexual violence by intervening, said Elise Carlton of the Manchester Community College Advising and Counseling Center.
Jen Oliver, a community educator for the YWCA of New Britain, will be demonstrating techniques for intervening when sexual misconduct or assault occurs, either on campus or in other situations. Chelsea Culburt, a campus advocate, will help Oliver and responding to any participants who may have strong emotional responses to the event.
Oliver explained some of techniques that are going to be shared.
“Challenging behavior explains why what the person is doing is unacceptable. Saying something like ‘it’s not okay to keep harassing her. She’s made it clear she isn’t interested.’ People often want to help, however they do not know how or where to start…We will talk about how you can be actively engaged in addressing cultural norms that support sexual violence.”
There are other programs offered on campus that deal with sexual assault. Rape Aggressive Defense, or RAD, teaches how to prevent sexual assault attacks by physical means. These sessions, which are only available to the female community, are offered during the fall semester by the Manchester Police Department and run once a week for a month.
With other seminars and demos such as “Where Do You Stand,” the community is shining more light on the subject of sexual assault.
“There are strategies that can be used to stop sexual assault, and we have this idea that men are somehow inherently violent and they aren’t inherently violent,” said Rebecca Townsend, co-chair of the Communication department at MCC. “They can be encouraged by their peers to stop engaging in behaviors that are problematic.”
It’s about time the subject or discussed openly, said student Rita Dunn.
“I think the lack of awareness for things that are going on like sexual assault, are harmful to the community and it’s important to highlight these things,” she said.
“Where Do You Stand” is free and open to the public. More sessions are being planned and people who wish to attend are encouraged to register in advance for the event by contacting Oliver at 860-225-4681, ext. 203, or via email at JOliver@ywcanewbritian.org.