In honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Baruch College’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention Committee hosted a series of events. SHAP focuses on topics such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence and stalking. The purpose of these events is to teach students how to act if they are a victim or know of someone who is a victim to domestic sexual assault or harassment, to educate the student population about on-campus and off-campus resources and to increase student involvement as a means of spreading awareness.
The co-chairs of SHAP are Joy Allison, who is the associate director of Health and Wellness, and Brandy Peer, the associate director for community standards. Allison serves as a student services liaison so that students do not have to go to different offices and people to get help. One reason behind this is so students do not have to feel uncomfortable retelling their story to multiple people and can just say it once instead. She provides them with all the resources they need and has connections with the other offices. She is also in connection with the Manhattan Family Justice Center.
Both Allison and Peer, along with Assistant Director of Student Activities Crystal Tejada, were manning a table on the 2nd floor of the Newman Vertical Campus on Oct. 26 during club hours. On the table were many informative pamphlets for students to take. One pamphlet outlined the resources available to any student on-campus such as Public Safety, the Counseling Center, the Dean of Students or the Campus Intervention Team. It also listed the off-campus resources that are available to people outside of the Baruch community, such as hotlines to the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault and the National Hotline for Crime Victims.
Another pamphlet listed statistics relating to domestic violence and other forms of sexual harassment. About one in three women are affected by sexual violence in their lifetime and nearly one in six men. In the United States, 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner. These numbers are only based on those people who have reported the crimes that have been done against them, the numbers could be drastically different if those who have been affected but are too afraid to speak up, reported the incidents.
Students were encouraged to step up to the table, take pamphlets and sign up to enter a raffle to win Baruch paraphernalia. There was also a big stack of purple sticky notes on the table. These were for the “Stick It To Love” project in recognition of domestic and intimate partner violence awareness. “Stick It To Love” is part of the One Love campaign and its goal is to identify the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. The purpose of the sticky notes was for students to write what they think “Love Is” and what “Love Is Not” and then stick it on a rolling board. The board was covered entirely in purple, and on the left side people wrote what “Love Is” — “love is respecting each other” and “love is co-dependence, happiness and caring greatly about someone.” The right side of the board was covered with what “Love Is Not” — it is not “putting your partner down and making them feel unimportant” and it is not “inflicting ultimatums, causing fear, emotional abuse or making someone feel worthless.” More information about this campaign can be found on www.joinonelove.org.
Earlier the same day, SHAP hosted a club door-decorating contest. The committee challenged all clubs to decorate the door of their club suite in purple in recognition of Domestic Partner Violence Awareness month. There were three requirements to be qualified for the competition: the door must be purple, there must be a minimum of three facts on domestic or intimate partner violence and all doors must have the hashtags #BePurple and #StickItToLove. Since clubs share a suite, each club that participated in its door decorating and was part of the winning team received a $100 co-sponsorship from Baruch’s Undergraduate Student Government. Judging the competition were three people — Nastia Gorodilova, the training and technical assistance coordinator at the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault; Arvis Chen, the USG chair of clubs and organizations and Gloria Nyaega, a graduate student who is a member of the Zicklin Women in Business. The clubs were scored based on visual impact, craftsmanship, completeness, creativity and originality. The winning three clubs were the Vietnamese Student Association, the Blue Notes and the Thespian Club.
SHAP will continue to be visible on campus and, in November, there will be a Bystander Intervention Program to give people the tools and tips they need in order to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Its biggest event will be in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and will be called Denim Day.
Denim Day is in honor of a young Italian girl who was sexually assaulted by her driving instructor. In court, it was ruled that the assault had to have been consensual because the girl was wearing tight jeans that would not have been able to be removed without her own free will. This international event is to promote support for sexual assault victims.