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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Sexual violence mentors plan for winter

Sexual Violence: Mentors in Prevention, a sexual violence prevention program which started last spring, is continuing to work out a few organizational kinks before training mentors during Winter term.

SVMP, which aims to instill confidence in students to stand up for themselves in inappropriate situations, is currently experiencing several structural changes that have delayed initial training. The alterations include a possible name change, a revamping of the mentor application process and an upgrade of its outreach and public relations programs.

"What has slowed us down was our inability to foresee what a big project this was. It was a student initiative. Everything that we have built, we have built from zero," Meredith Raucher '06, a member of the steering committee, said. "The logistics are not set in stone. A lot of it has to do with where the program takes place."

Current plans will divide SVMP activities into three prongs. The first initiative consists of contacting freshmen in the Fall and Winter terms through residence halls and athletic teams. The second event will take place during sophomore summer, when SVMP hopes to gain an audience at Greek and cultural organizations. The third area of focus will occur during students' senior Fall term, when the group will attempt to obtain support from Greek and affinity houses and sports teams.

Many of SVMP's plans are targeted at recruiting additional male members, particularly those who are leaders of Greek organizations.

"We draw up a wish list of men who we think would make great facilitators, and we try to represent the campus as well as possible," SVMP member David Gorman '08 said.

Funded by the Center for Woman and Gender, SVMP differentiates itself from other programs on sexual violence by its approach.

"We are different in the fact that we are working with the prevention side," Raucher said.

SVMP members look forward to starting conversation about sexual violence that goes unquestioned on the Dartmouth campus.

"We are looking to go out and educate and get people to re-evaluate how people see social life at Dartmouth," Raucher said.

Though SVMP is taking more time than expected to pursue its agenda, its founder expressed confidence in the leadership ability of the steering committee and the future of the organization.

"I think SVMP is still in a strong position. Change doesn't happen over night, especially when working on cultural change," John Lazarow '05 said.

An SVMP training weekend is scheduled for the first week of January, when members from Mentors in Violence Prevention, an organization founded by Northeastern University, will help train SVMP members. The seminars are designed to equip SVMP facilitators with the confrontation skills necessary to initiate talks about sexual violence.