By Christine Clark
LA JOLLA–More than $600,000 in grants have been awarded to the University of California, San Diego’s Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Resource Center (SARC) for the center’s innovative and proactive violence prevention programs and comprehensive services.
This is the first year SARC has received three grants, each from the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Justice and the Healthy Relationship Peer Educator Program sponsored by the Avon Foundation for Women.
SARC is a valuable campus resource that has been at UC San Diego for 20 years. The center works closely with campus and community partners to provide comprehensive services for victims and survivors of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence and stalking. SARC also coordinates education and prevention efforts on campus that help create a positive and safe environment at UC San Diego.
“We are pleased to receive three prestigious grants to further develop our prevention efforts and enhance our services,” said Nancy Wahlig, director of the Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Resource Center. “At UC San Diego, we take a proactive approach to ensure the health and safety of our students. These grants have allowed us improve the work we’ve been doing and add tremendously to our prevention and education efforts on campus.”
Through the $300,000 Department of Education grant, SARC launched an innovative new campaign for preventing sexual violence. Titled, “Every Little BIT (Bystander Intervention Training) Counts…It Starts With You,” the campaign is a positive, inclusive and empowering program that encourages and teaches students bystander intervention strategies.
Bystander intervention is when one person chooses to speak up, step in or engage others to help when witnessing uncomfortable situations. Although the training focuses on violence prevention, the BIT model can be applied to variety of situations that students may encounter.
“Having had the BIT model developed at UC San Diego, we know it can be applied to other topics such as racism, homophobia, hazing, alcohol abuse or students at risk,” Wahlig said.
For the past year, SARC has been developing and implementing a comprehensive media campaign based on a campus-wide study of undergraduates that was distributed during spring 2010. The UC San Diego Violence Prevention Survey, which SARC developed from past surveys had a response rate of 977 undergraduates, representing a diverse group of respondents. The survey found that two out of three UC San Diego students would speak up if they thought a friend was at risk of being sexually assaulted. Another statistic showed that 96 percent of UC San Diego students believe it is wrong to pressure a person to drink in order to have sex.
In addition to the media campaign, SARC is conducting train-the-trainer workshops for staff as well as student leaders. Thus far, SARC has conducted more than 50 BIT workshops for more than 1,000 students and staff, earning the campaign positive feedback from the campus community.
The Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women $300,000 grant focuses on providing comprehensive victim services and prevention efforts for sexual assault, dating/domestic violence and stalking.
The $10,000 m.powerment by mark. Healthy Relationship Peer Educator Program grant from the Avon Foundation for Women’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative, provides funding for a bystander intervention program addressing dating violence and stalking called “Cute or Creepy.” The program addresses red flags and healthy behaviors in a relationship, asking students, for instance, “Do you think 100 text messages in one hour is cute or creepy?” With the grant, SARC plans to hold a video contest where students are challenged to create a video depicting various scenarios where bystander intervention can be applied. Specific guidelines and deadlines will be announced later this year.
For more information about the work and services of the Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Resource Center, contact (858) 534-5793 or visit http://sarc.ucsd.edu