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Avon Foundation for Women awards $5,000 grant to Appalachian

Grant will fund preventive education on dating abuse and violence

BOONE—Appalachian State University has received a $5,000 grant from the Avon Foundation for Women’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative. This is the first year Appalachian has received funding from the Avon Foundation for Women.

The grant will fund a Bystander Fellows Institute at Appalachian in July 2015 to train bystanders to reduce sexual assault, dating abuse and stalking.

The three- to four-day institute for 15 incoming first-year students and 5-10 staff and community members will provide opportunities for classroom style discussions and lessons as well as interactive and reflective activities involving both campus and community opportunities. Guest speakers who are experts in the field will present on varying topics of sexual violence, prevention and intervention. The seminar will conclude with opportunities for further involvement on campus with the university’s “It’s Up to Me” campaign and on how to assist the university in creating and maintaining an active bystander culture.

Participants selected for the institute will have the opportunity to:

  1. Enhance their knowledge and increase awareness of interpersonal, dating and sexual violence.
  2. Learn to identify warning behaviors that constitute sexual violence.
  3. Teach the appropriate skills to intervene safely and effectively, in both direct and indirect ways.
  4. Learn the role of preventing sexual violence on campus.
  5. Be an active bystander leader, advocate and role model on campus through involvement in clubs and organizations, residence halls, social events, athletics events, etc.

“We are proud that the Avon Foundation for Women shares our mission and has chosen to support our program. With these funds we will be able to develop more involvement opportunities specifically with incoming first-year students in regards to interpersonal violence prevention and building skills to being an active bystander,” said Ellen Hartman, advisor for the Red Flag Campaign at Appalachian.

The grant is one of 30 Avon campus grants totaling $150,000 awarded to colleges nationwide to fund programs focused on preventive education on dating abuse and violence, sexual assault, stalking and the promotion of healthy relationships, as well as offer local resources and provide referrals for community-based domestic violence experts.

The grant also supports educator training, materials and support sessions about healthy relationships. Young women ages 16-24 experience the highest rates of dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Since enactment of the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act in 1990, a variety of initiatives have been developed to educate college administrators on the issues of gender violence, particularly sexual assault, and to provide resources for college campuses to reduce violence. Although much has been learned, there is a great deal more that can be accomplished to implement effective campus-wide policies and prevention practices to prevent and reduce incidences of violence.

Students must also be part of the solution to help prevent violence perpetrated against and by their peers. With this new grant, the Avon Foundation is funding campus dating abuse programs across the nation to educate significant numbers of student groups and faculty to create awareness, to recognize the warning signs of abuse and to encourage students to safely intervene to help prevent violence.

In April, the White House issued “NOT ALONE: The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault,” highlighting steps school administrators can and must take to honor their obligation to protect all students from sexual assault and violence. Recognizing that school administrators bear the burden of responsibility to provide safe communities for all students, the Avon Foundation partnered with Futures Without Violence to develop “Guidelines for Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence in Higher Education.” These guidelines highlight best practices for creating and promoting a campus norm of interpersonal respect and non-violent relationships, and can be downloaded at http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org.

Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

The Avon Foundation for Women launched Speak Out Against Domestic Violence in 2004 to support domestic violence awareness, education and prevention programs aimed at reducing domestic and gender violence, as well as direct services for victims and their families. Through 2013, the Avon Foundation for Women has donated nearly $38 million in the United States to support domestic violence programs, services and education.

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