Discussions, films and workshops held during Week of Action

by Claudia Bernstein | 4/12/18 2:30am

This year, the College’s Week of Action, which is a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, featured talk, workshops and movie screenings.

The College’s Student Wellness Center, Dartmouth Bystander Initiative, the Week of Action planning committee, Sexual Assault Peer Alliance, WISE and other campus organizations helped plan the new events, held last week. Sexual Assault Awareness Month is intended to destigmatize conversations about sexual violence and educate individuals and institutions about how they can support victims of sexual assault.

“Sexual Assault Awareness Month happens in April across the country and across the globe, so for that reason we’ve sort of shifted our approach a little bit on our campus to the Week of Action,” DBI manager Ben Bradley said.

Bradley said that his organization collaborated with the Hopkins Center for the Arts and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy to plan programming throughout the week.

Each day of the Week of Action saw at least one event devoted to facilitating conversations about sexual violence. On April 2 — the College’s Day of Action — students distributed Week of Action T-shirts at tables in the Collis Center. Additionally, the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning led a faculty event intended to strengthen the community’s response to sexual violence. The event offered faculty members training in “compliance as well as response and support and thinking about how to be supportive when someone makes a disclosure to a private resource,” according to WISE campus advocate Delaney Anderson, whose organization helped plan the event with DCAL.

One of the major goals of the workshops was to engage individuals who might not otherwise participate in sexual violence conversations on campus, Bradley said. He noted that many students support efforts to end sexual violence on campus, adding that the Week of Action is intended to create an opportunity for these individuals to find action “that feels right and doable and tangible to them.”

While the Week of Action sought to increase the visibility of sexual violence issues on campus and elsewhere, Anderson said the larger goal of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to foster sustained conversations about this issue that extend beyond April.

“It’s wonderful when we have awareness month events, but I think what the focus is always on — including with the Week of Action — is how we can continue to think about these topics and act throughout the rest of the year, not just this one week,” Anderson said.

On Apr. 3, DBI and the Hop jointly hosted a viewing and discussion of “Sex and Sexual Violence on Screen” in the Loew Auditorium in Black Family Visual Arts Center. On Apr. 4, the Week of Action planning committee provided interested students with transportation to the Lebanon Opera House for Unedited Voices. Hosted every two years by WISE, Unedited Voices is a presentation where survivors of sexual assault share and perform their experiences to communicate how their lives have been impacted by violence. On Apr. 5, DBI and the Rockefeller Center hosted a workshop dedicated to combating workplace violence.

Bradley said that he was especially involved in coordinating and leading the workshop titled “Combating Workplace Harassment” that evening.

“The purpose of the event is to educate students ... as leaders in the near future ... [to identify workplace harassment and about] tangible strategies that can prevent sexual violence ... and keep other community members safe,” Bradley said.

As part of the workshop, attendees viewed examples of workplace harassment and discussed power imbalances in work settings that might discourage reporting of inappropriate behavior.

Summer Martin ’21, who attended the workshop, said she felt that the lessons she learned about calling out examples of sexual harassment and violence were applicable not only to the workplace, but also to social spaces at the College.

“When you’re entering a [fraternity], the brothers decide whether you can come in or not, and while you can say that’s not really a power imbalance, if you want to have a good social life, it is,” she said.

Bradley added that he believes community action is necessary because there is a need for everyone to feel a stake in the issue and see a way to tangibly be involved to prevent sexual violence on this campus.