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SMC objects to violence

Alicia Smith | Friday, September 10, 2010

In 2009, Saint Mary’s College received a three-year grant valued at $299,893 from the U.S. Department Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, which the College used to create Bells Against Violence Office (BAVO), a program that addresses the various forms of violence women may encounter.

According to Assistant Director for BAVO Connie Adams, the program strives to educate women about violence.

“The aim of the Belles Against Violence Office is to increase the College’s capacity to appropriately and effectively respond to violence students might experience and head off future incidents by educating students on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking,” Adams said.

Adams said one in every six women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime, and college-aged women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted.

Adams said BAVO concentrates on the issues of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking in a three-part method.

“Professional staff provide support and advocacy for students in a confidential environment,” Adams said. “Students who experience violence or abuse are able to find a listening ear and discuss options and resources with BAVO staff.”

According to Adams, BAVO strives to educate women about these issues.

“Events are offered throughout the year to raise awareness of violence against women issues and provide opportunities for students to take a stand against violence and abuse,” she said.

BAVO will also provide training opportunities for students to learn how to handle violent situations that may arise in their lives.

“With the aim to enhance the response of the Saint Mary’s College community to violence and abuse, training sessions are offered to students, staff and faculty,” Adams said.

On Sept. 2, BAVO hosted a kick-off event where over 100 students had the opportunity to decorate t-shirts to take a “stand against violence.”

“BAVO also plans to start one-day training sessions that will provide an opportunity for students to find actions which they can realistically incorporate into their lives,” Adams said.

Adams said students should contact BAVO directly for more information at 574-284-4081 or BellesAgainstViolence@saintmarys.edu.