Women’s Center takes first steps in preventing sexual assaults


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The Marshall University Women’s Center has partnered with the Interfraternity Council to provide several sexual assault awareness and prevention initiatives during the coming semester. The first of these was a Green Dot training session that took place Sunday, organized by Women’s Center director Leah Tolliver.

“Green Dot is bystander intervention training,” Tolliver said.

Its name comes from the idea that sexual and relationship-based abuses are marked on a map with red dots and that a bystander’s intervention in such a situation would instead leave a green dot on the map.

The training session, directed toward fraternities, is intended to teach the attendees the different methods by which they can intervene in a red dot situation, whether directly or indirectly, and that doing so will have a positive effect on the situation in most cases.

The event was attended by several members from most fraternities. At one point during the presentation, they were given scenarios in which a case of abuse happens and were told to choose one of three answers about who was at fault. Other audience interactions included analysis of videos with no audio, pre-presentation and post-presentation surveys and exercises in which each group was told to find examples of a given type of abuse.

Also in attendance was co-organizer Anthony Spano, graduate assistant from the Department of Student Involvement & Leadership.

“We’re really excited to partner with the Women’s Center to put events on like this,” Spano said. “It’s important to not only educate our members on preventative measures for violence, whether that be romantic or violence in general, but we look at it as an opportunity to be a positive force against those things.”

“It is not an issue that is just for women,” Tolliver said. “It is an issue that affects all of us. We want to be able to engage all populations of our campus … and it’s all about prevention.”

Green Dot was the first in a series of collaborations between the Women’s Center and IFC. The main event, in its planning stages, is Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, with a tentative date of April 13. The march is intended to raise awareness for domestic violence, symbolized by men walking a mile while wearing high heels.

“We’re going to be offering the training throughout the semester, and again into the fall,” Tolliver said. “We want to say we stopped [an assault] before it happened.”

Wyatt Hunt can be contacted at [email protected]

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