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Belles Against Violence seeks to educate College community

| Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Saint Mary’s College students are working to spread the word about the Belles Against Violence Office, or BAVO. Sophomores Audrina Massey and Kate Hill are both members of the organization, and said they are seeking to create a safer environment at Saint Mary’s. Hill is an ally under the “sub-category” of BAVO known as Green Dot.

“As an ally we make sure … that we are made available to those people to let them know that we are confidential sources they can come and talk to,” Hill said.

Massey is on the Student Advisory Committee, or SAC, and also works on the Green Dot committee. Massey explained all of the committees come together to work on their common mission.

“Each committee has their own events but work together to really put on events and spread awareness and education about sexual assault, sexual violence and relationship stalking and how to maybe help those who have been a victim, or a survivor,” she said.

Hill explained that Green Dot “focuses on trying to prevent red dot situations.” Red dot situations include any form of sexual assault, sexual violence or relationship stalking.

“We stand by survivors and offer our support to those that we can. By spreading awareness, we hope to make the warning signs more apparent and inform as many people as possible,” Hill said.

In doing so, red dots can become green dots as more people become prepared and knowledgeable for when a red dot situation occurs, Hill said.

With several resources on campus, BAVO offers confidential resources where students can discuss their story with a peer without any obligation to report their experiences. Massey added other confidential resources at Saint Mary’s include Campus Ministry, as well as Health and Counseling. She said BAVO is a point of contact for anyone who has experienced sexual assault, sexual violence or relationship stalking.

BAVO puts on several events throughout the academic year. Last week was Green Dot Activism Week, which included events to spread knowledge to the students and faculty about BAVO and Green Dot. Another event BAVO put on was called “Guac and Talk.”

“We just had an open space for people to discuss any issues on campus regarding sexual assault, sexual violence and relationship stalking, and things maybe BAVO can do better,” Massey said of ‘Guac and Talk.’

Coming up in the spring semester is a public event called “Take Back the Night.” The event is designed to support survivors, Massey explained.

“It’s a candlelight vigil that starts here at Saint Mary’s and ends at the Grotto at Notre Dame, and it’s a place where people can either share their experience or just show support for all the survivors,” she said. “It’s not just students that take part in it, it’s faculty and staff … It’s a nationwide event that happens every year.”

Hill and Massey also encouraged students to participate in Green Dot training sessions that will be held in January, in order to teach participants different skills about how to handle difficult situations.

Massey said there are numerous ways to get involved with BAVO.

“You can become a BAVO ally, and you can either of course be a part of Green Dot awareness and outreach or events and campaigns,” she said. “You can show your support by coming to events just throughout the year … BAVO is really about helping our students. So that’s what we are trying to do, so if you really just want to watch out for your Belles and just make sure everybody is safe, then I would highly encourage Belles Against Violence.”

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