Awareness Programming about Sexual Assault & Stalking Planned

Gwen O’Brien 
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
(574) 284-4579

February 15, 2012 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—The Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO)* at Saint Mary’s, a women’s college, invites the public to three upcoming events designed to educate and empower young people on the subjects of sexual violence and stalking. College-aged women and high school seniors may benefit the most from the programming.

National statistics indicate that college-aged women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted; one out of every six women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime; and 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. Victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression; 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol; and 26 times more likely to abuse drugs. In addition, one in every six women in the United States experience stalking in their lifetime and more than half of female stalking survivors have experienced stalking before the age of 25 (Sources: Rape, Abuse & Incest Network; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report).

“Saint Mary’s College is committed to reducing the incidence and impact of violence and abuse,” said Connie Adams, assistant director of BAVO. “Educational and prevention programming remains a core component to comprehensively address these issues. BAVO offers a variety of programming for students throughout the academic year. Community partnerships continue to be a fundamental aspect of program development and provision. As an extension of our partnerships within the community, BAVO hopes community members welcome the opportunity to attend one or all of our spring events open to the public.”

Here is a summary of upcoming events:

Monday, Feb. 27: An Overview of Medical & Forensic Examinations. Francine Henley and Carrie Higgins, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Co-Coordinators, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, will offer this presentation at 7 p.m. in Stapleton Lounge, Le Mans Hall. Henley and Higgins will discuss procedures that take place when a sexual assault victim arrives at the hospital. They will show the kit that is used for evidence collection and walk through the process as well as discuss issues like the cost (free), the time frame in which evidence should be collected, etc.

Monday, Mar. 5: Recognizing and Responding to Stalking. Michelle Garcia, director of the Stalking Resource Center (SRC) of the National Center for Victims of Crime will offer this lecture at 7 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium, Madeleva Hall. The SRC is the leading organization on stalking issues in the U.S.

Tuesday, April 24: Beat the Blame Game. This interactive presentation by Catharsis Productions helps the audience better recognize forms of sexual violence and discover ways to promote a violence-free community. Audience members will learn how to use humor to respond to victim-blaming statements and jokes. This presentation, which falls during Sexual Assault Activism Week, will take place at 7 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium, Madeleva Hall.

BAVO was established in the fall of 2010 after the College received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to initiate an on-campus program that addresses and educates students on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. BAVO offers programming that ranges from support services, to self-defense classes, to speakers and programs on power-based personal violence, criminal justice and victim advocacy.

*This program is supported by Grant No. 2009-WA-AX-0002 awarded by The Office of Violence Against Women, United States Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary's College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2012 published by U.S.News and World Report. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.