Today is the SAAM Day of Action, a chance for activists across the country to come together and raise awareness. The SAAM 2015 campaign is focused on preventing sexual violence in campus communities, asking individuals to take action to create safer campuses and brighter futures for everyone.
Last April, The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault released the Not Alone Report after convening listening sessions with practitioners in the anti-sexual violence movement, students, supporters, and community members. Today we highlight how sexual violence service organizations in New Jersey can take action to partner with campus professionals.
Many federal laws require campuses to provide educational training and implement prevention strategies. To support campuses in efforts, Not Alone offers some guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on promising prevention practices like engaging men as allies and bystander intervention.
How does Not Alone and other resources support community partnerships?
- Preventionists have experience implementing bystander engagement strategies, specifically SCREAM Theater and Green Dot. Administrations will be looking for assistance when deciding on which relevant and promising approaches to engage students to facilitate change. Sexual violence service organizations are well-positioned to become part of a comprehensive and long-term effort to change social norms within campuses.
- One of the goals of critical media literacy as a prevention strategy is addressing hypermasculinity and creating opportunities to challenge traditional gender roles. This strategy is also well-positioned and structured to engage campus men—both students and faculty—in conversations around sexual violence prevention.
- The Not Alone report emphasizes increased attention to confidential reporting, with a recommendation that campuses identify trained, competent, and accessible advocates. These individuals would be the first voice heard by students or members of the campus community when reporting a sexual assault. Local sexual violence service organizations have Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate training that can lend to campus development of their programs.
- Every campus must have an accessible, comprehensive, and easy-to-understand policy around sexual misconduct and engage local victim service providers in conversations for revisions in language and survivor-centered considerations.
The Not Alone Report offers a sample Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for campus-community partnerships, guidance on promising services offered at sexual violence service organizations, and a call for local researchers and professionals to get involved in exploring effective intervention and prevention strategies. NJCASA coordinates space for these conversations with the College Consortium – a collective of dedicated and passionate campus professionals looking to create meaningful change here in New Jersey. We welcome interested institutions and professionals looking to learn from and contribute to this dialogue. With meaningful collaboration between campuses and service organizations, college campuses can become safe spaces for all students.