University programs, student organizations create forum for awareness, campus activism.
Sexual assault prevention resources, including bystander intervention training, trauma services and events and programs that raise awareness of methods to curb sexual violence, are available throughout campus for the George Washington University community.
GW offers bystander intervention training during events for students and in conjunction with student organizations—including Students Against Sexual Assault—that create a forum for campus activism. Student organizations also sponsor the university’s annual Take Back the Night event. The Division of Student Affairs has added conversations and programs about bystander intervention and sexual assault awareness education to Colonial Inauguration and Welcome Week.
“Creating a safe environment is a top priority and something that takes a community response to address,” said Peter Konwerski, vice provost and dean of student affairs. “GW students, no matter their gender, should never fear sexual violence or assault during their time on our campuses.
“At GW, we comply with the law as we train, investigate, coordinate with law enforcement and adjudicate. That approach allows us to attack the issue of sexual violence against students.”
Campus resources include the centralized website Haven where visitors can find information about harassment and abuse, what to do if they are witnesses or victims and how to report incidents confidentially. Members of the GW community can also request meetings and presentations tailored to specific departments or groups. The University Counseling Center features a trauma services coordinator to help support students who are survivors of sexual assault.
A Wednesday night Welcome Week event on sex and dating, intended to provide students with tools to become active bystanders in curbing sexual violence, will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom. A Thursday night event, part of the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education’s “George’s Heroes” campaign, is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the TV lounge in Thurston Hall. “George’s Heroes” is CADE’s bystander intervention campaign to raise awareness of how individuals can become active participants for positive behavior in their communities.
“Sexual assault is a crime we need to prevent,” Dr. Konwerski said. “We’ve got to empower, respect and protect survivors and hold perpetrators responsible if we hope to end sexual violence.”
GW updated its Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures last fall. The document informs members of the university community about sexual harassment, including sexual violence, and provides guidelines for what they can do if they encounter or observe it in connection with any university program or activity.