Belles Against Violence: About Us

Our Mission

The Belles Against Violence Office, rooted in the Catholic Church's faith and social teaching, cultivates a culture free from violence through education, training, support, and advocacy. BAVO engages the Saint Mary's College community to prevent and respond to sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking.


Our Vision

The Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) envisions a community free from sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. Through collaboration with campus and community partners and student engagement, we will cultivate systemic change.

BAVO will be recognized on local, state, and national levels for our comprehensive and collaborative approach to eliminate violence and abuse through innovative programming and holistic direct service program. BAVO will be a model for other Catholic institutions and women's colleges.


Our Approach and Purpose

Recognizing the significant and complex impact violence against women issues have on the lives of individuals and entire communities, Belles Against Violence Office has incorporated a four-pronged approach to address the issue.

° Advocacy – Professional support is offered to individuals directly and indirectly impacted by violence against women. An emphasis is placed on discussing options to empower the survivor.

° Education – Awareness is a critical element of change. Exhibits, presentations, and panels engage students, faculty, and staff  to actively invest in the movement to eliminate violence against women.

° Training – In order to fully address violence against women, the campus community must have a consistent and comprehensive approach . Sessions prepare faculty, staff, and student leaders to respond to the incidence and disclosure of violence and abuse.

° Collaboration – Recognizing the importance of partnerships to address social change, the College continues to engage community partners and internal offices. A Coordinated Community Response Team monitors and guides the progression of office activities.


Our Her-Story

As a pioneer in the education of women, Saint Mary’s College has consistently addressed issues particularly relevant to gender relations and equality. Despite the College’s low reporting rates, administrators recognized the prevalence of violence against women among the general public and responded.  In 2009, Saint Mary’s College applied for a grant through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, Campus Grant Program. The College instituted an office the following spring to comprehensively address sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. Recognizing the impact of the Belles Against Violence Office on campus, and the committment of students, faculty, and staff,  Saint Mary's College fully incorporated the office in 2012, following the end of the grant cycle.



Monday-Friday     9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Other hours are available by appointment. Students who have experienced a recent incident of violence or abuse, or in a state of crisis, can contact Saint Mary's College Security (574-284-5000) or Residence Life to be connected with a confidential Belles Against Violence Advocate 24/7.


Our Staff

Connie Adams, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

Belles Against Violence Office

Connie Adams was born and raised in Sandusky, Ohio. During her undergraduate experience at Saint Mary’s College, she studied social work and justice education developing a passion for violence against women issues. She continued her education at George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Her graduate studies focused on Outreach and Prevention in Intimate Partner Violence with a specialization in Management. She founded the Violence Against Women Outreach and Prevention Committee, a task force of the St. Louis Violence Against Women Network of St. Louis, Missouri. Prior to returning to Saint Mary’s College, Connie was employed as a development and administrative specialist by a small non-profit organization, Redevelopment Opportunities for Women, Inc. (ROW). Connie has experience in grant proposal writing and oversight, individual advocacy, community education, and workshop facilitation.


Our Partners

Coordinated Community Response Team

Internal Partners:

  • Student Representative: Maddie Maher, General Belles Against Violence Office Involvement, Saint Mary's College
  • Student Representative: Meredith Mersits, Belles Against Violence Office Ally, Saint Mary's College
  • Student Representative: Payton Moore, Belles Against Violence Student Advisory Committee, Saint Mary's College

External Partners:

  • St. Joseph Regional Medical Center
    Ms. Francine Henley
    5215 Holy Cross Parkway
    Mishawaka, IN 46545
    (574) 335-1110
    (574) 335-2532 Voicemail of S.A.N.E. Coordinator, Francine Henley

Belles Against Violence Office Student Advisory Committee

The student advisory board serves as an essential component of the Violence Against Women Office. Student leaders commit to heightening awareness of relationship violence, sexual assault, and stalking at Saint Mary’s. The Belles Against Violence Office Student Advisory Committee plans, executes, and evaluates events which not only increase the understanding and knowledge base of community members, but generate dialogue and hope.

Student Advisory Committee Members: Paige DeRouin, Linsy McMullen, Payton Moore, Jena Sweigart, Ashley Watkins

Learn more about our SAC members.

Belles Against Violence Office Student Allies

Each year the Belles Against Violence Office gives students the opportunity to apply to be a BAVO Ally. There are 30-40 students each year who work in Programming Committees under the supervision of the Student Advisory Committee to help plan events, advertise to the community, and assist in Green Dot related programming.

To learn more about the Student Advisory Committee or Programming Committees, please contact Connie Adams (

Mailing Address

Saint Mary's College
33 Holy Cross Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Phone Number


Email Address

Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs
Saint Mary's College Department of Residence Life and Community Standards
Saint Mary's College Security Department
Saint Mary's College Office of Student Involvement
Saint Mary's College Women's Health
Saint Mary's College Social Work Department
Saint Mary's College Department of Psychology and Communicative Disorders
Saint Mary's College Department of Sociology
Saint Mary's College Department of Women's Studies
Saint Mary's College Campus Ministry
Saint Mary's College Department of Athletics and Recreation