(From The Campus Lantern – September 18, 2014)
This semester Eastern implemented “Haven,” a unique and interactive online confidential platform that meets Federal and State prevention education requirements outlined by the Department of Education (Title IX) and Connecticut state law PA 14-11, An Act Concerning Sexual Assault, Stalking and Intimate Partner. It is required for new, returning, international, transfer, commuter and graduate students.
Prior to selecting “Haven”, this past summer the Coordinator of Eastern’s Sexual Assault & Interpersonal Violence Response Team (SAIV-RT) invited students to debut different online platforms that distinctly aimed to heighten students’ awareness on issues of interpersonal violence including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
Craig Noto, Vice President of Partner Development, states “Haven” is especially engineered “to motivate behavior change by modeling positive behaviors, providing a “toolkit” of strategies, and building student self-efficacy. Real-life scenarios allow students to practice new skills, see results, receive feedback in a safe [and confidential] environment.” Eastern has customized “Haven” to include campus and community resources and policies.
“Haven” educates all students about healthy relationships, the importance of consent, and the vital role of bystanders in creating safe and healthy communities. Eastern is committed to shifting social norms and transforming the forces on campus – including, but not limited to revising institutional policies that support behavioral change. The Coordinator of the SAIV-RT views “Haven” as “a site of knowledge where all students of any gender and sexuality can learn tools to identify red flags for unhealthy relationships, and methods of safe, positive bystander behavior and intervention. This program supports students to see their role in creating Eastern to be a healthier campus.”
The training includes two parts; the first part will take students about one hour to complete and must be done by Friday, October 10. Part one is made up of a pre-assessment, the course content, and a post-assessment. Both assessments measure the student’s knowledge about interpersonal violence (which includes sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking) on college campuses and demonstrate the educational value of provoking thought and discussion regarding this crisis. Part two of the training, a final assessment and post-survey, will be available to students approximately six weeks after the first section is completed. It must be completed by Tuesday, November 25.
Some students ask, “Why is this training necessary?” The answer to that is painfully and tragically evident. The statistics of sexual assault on college campuses are overwhelming. 90% of college women who were complainants of sexual assault knew their attacker prior. In 2009, 3383 sex offenses were reported by college students overall. However, 60% of all sexual assaults go unreported (Pepper Hamilton LLP). “Haven” addresses these critical issues. While these issues may not affect everyone directly, clearly, they affect all students indirectly. The goal of Haven is to provide all Eastern students with a consistent message about consent, interpersonal violence, and to encourage thoughtful conversations. Most importantly, however, the training aims to “inspire a shift in behaviors and highlight a campus that values healthy choices” (www1.easternct.edu/saiv).
Haven at Eastern is administered by Eastern’s Sexual Assault & Interpersonal Violence Response Team (SAIV-RT), which is designated by the Division of Student Affairs. If students have any questions about the interpersonal violence training, they can reach Starsheemar Byrum, the Coordinator of SAIV-RT and the Women’s Center, by email at email@example.com and by phone at (860) 465-4314. Students with disabilities, who may need accommodations, can also contact Starsheemar for assistance. All students should be assured, if the content of the training is difficult or triggering, she is available to talk with them.