Safe HAVEN on campus

Shalee Rogney, Reporter

Twenty-four people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million men and women a year, according to The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Marshall University is taking an extra step to inform new students about domestic violence. The HAVEN program educates all incoming students on the key definitions and statistics, personalized and reflective content, bystander skill, confidence building strategies and campus-specific policies, procedures and resources.

The HAVEN (Helping Advocates for Violence Ending Now) program is sponsored by EverFi Educational Platforms, which also provides other educational programs at Marshall, such as AlcoholEdu.

The program offers several scenarios that give students the power to define the meaning of a healthy relationship. HAVEN shows the students the correct way to build a healthy relationship by showing proper communication methods and defining personal relationship values.

The university is required to educate all incoming students on the issues of sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking and relationship violence as stipulated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Campus Sexual Violence Alert (SaVE) Act and the Clery Act.

Leah Tolliver, director of the division of Student Affairs and the Women’s Center, said she believes HAVEN will have a significant impact on all incoming students. She said the biggest part of the program is trying to provide more information to the students about bystander intervention.

“I do think that it is something that students are going to be able to take away from things on their own individual level,” Tolliver said. “They are getting information that they’ve never had before.”

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of non-fatal intimate partner violence.

The bystander intervention portion of the program is aimed at giving the students power to prevent sexual assaults or relationship violence in any situation. It also empowers students to speak out against the issue and seek help from campus resources. The program breaks down sexual violence to its roots by examining gender roles and the effects of such roles on relationship violence and sexual assaults.

According to, violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.

The responsibility for preventing any kind of sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and relationship violence falls on everyone. HAVEN enables the student body to take action against this pressing issue.

“We want our students to look at their own individual responsibility for addressing this issue,” Tolliver said, “not from looking at reducing the vulnerability of being a victim, but responsibility for keeping our community safe.”

Shalee Rogney can be contacted at [email protected].