July 1, 2011
Amanda R. Warfield
University Relations and Marketing
Bowie State University Boosts Sexual Assault Awareness Initiative
(Bowie, Md.) - Increasing awareness of sexual violence is critical to preventing such offenses across the country, particularly on college campuses. At Bowie State University, the Henry Wise Wellness Center has established a sexual assault prevention program called Partners in Peace to raise awareness and train the campus community to be advocates in domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking prevention.
In August, the Wellness Center will sponsor sexual assault prevention training through a partnership with the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Violence and the University of Maryland College Park, targeting Bowie State and UMCP students, faculty and staff. The Green Dot Training Institute will train individuals to use an approach towards sexual violence prevention that utilizes peer and cultural influences.
The Partners in Peace program also established a mandatory education program for all incoming students pertaining to the prevention of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking on campus. During the fall semester, sexual violence workshops will be held during freshman seminar and human sexuality courses and in conjunction with campus programming. Training for resident assistants is scheduled for August 18.
Bowie State University and UMCP are also collaborating to develop an educational video focusing on myths and facts about sexual assault and intimate partner violence featuring both Bowie State and UMCP students, as well as sexual assault scholars and activists. The video is scheduled to be completed in July and utilized this fall in conjunction with the workshops.
"By equipping the campus community with information and guidelines pertaining to sexual violence, we are cultivating ambassadors who will help us continue to prevent sexual assaults and interpersonal violence," said Dr. Rita Wutoh, director of the Wellness Center. "Through this program, we have the resources to train our students, faculty and staff, and focus on prevention rather than just response."
The program is supported by a three-year $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, in conjunction with UMCP. The grant, which provided the University with the resources needed to raise awareness about campus sexual assault and intimate partner violence issues, will continue through 2012.
As part of Bowie State's prevention initiative, the Wellness Center established the Campus and Community Response Team (CCRT), a sexual assault and intimate partner violence task force comprised of Bowie State University students, faculty and staff, and other community members. The Wellness Center has also developed a sexual peer education program, conducted sexual violence and bystander intervention trainings, and held a campus-wide sexual assault awareness workshop in tandem with Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.
Brandon Yancey, a graduate student intern majoring in communications, was a contributing writer to this press release.
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