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SMC office calls attention to relationship violence

Tabitha Ricketts | Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Saint Mary’s Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) will sponsor several events and activities to commemorate National Dating Violence Awareness Month and continue the conversation about dating violence issues beyond February.

“A primary purpose for these events is to encourage continued discussion to raise awareness and ultimately reduce the incidence and impact of violence,” BAVO director Connie Adams said.

To kick off the office’s sponsored events, Adams said students, faculty and staff can watch and discuss a recorded lecture by Anne Munch, a consultant for the United States military. The lecture focuses on the intricacies of some sexual assault cases in America on Feb. 11.

Since sexual assault and dating violence are related issues, Adams said Munch’s lecture is especially pertinent.

“According to national studies, the majority of sexual assaults … occur within known relationships,” Adams said. “The topic of sexual assault is relevant when discussing dating violence.”

During the week prior to Valentine’s Day, Adams said BAVO will host a Valentines Against Violence fundraiser by selling cards to support the Family Justice Center’s SOS, a local nonprofit service helping survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence.

Such fundraising events can make a real difference with widespread participation, Adams said.

“Each person can participate and support [BAVO’s] mission,” she said. “Whether that means starting to follow BAVO SMC on Twitter or buying a Valentine or attending one program, each action is important. Our individual actions matter and, when viewed collectively, promote change.”

In an event co-sponsored by Women’s Health and the Student Nurse Association, Saint Mary’s will welcome Francine Henley, coordinator of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, to campus to discuss “myths and facts associated with forensic and medical exams following physical and sexual assaults,” Adams said.

Throughout the month of February, Adams said BAVO SMC Facebook and Twitter accounts will share facts and statistics about dating violence and healthy relationships.

Other events planned include a Green Dot video contest, which calls for student teams to create and submit a video promoting the Green Dot Campaign, a program focused on bystander intervention and violence prevention.

Adams said submissions are due by 5 p.m. Feb. 22. Contest prizes include an AeroPress coffee maker for the best individual entry, and desserts and conversation with Saint Mary’s president Carol Ann Mooney for the winning video.

For more information about the Green Dot Campaign, visit  www.livethegreendot.com.

Contact Tabitha Ricketts at tricke01@saintmarys.edu