“I just want to stop victim blaming and I want to stop this cycle of sexual assault that’s occurring,” Safer community outreach coordinator Katy Palmer said. “That’s the ultimate hope.”
Earlier in the week, Safer announced its ad campaign that partnered with athletes to curb sexual assault at Cal Poly.
In addition to this, representatives from Safer have been presenting to greek life on topics such as healthy relationships, victim blaming, communication and sexual assault prevention.
Safer representatives have been presenting to both sororities and fraternities, but they said the presentations are created differently for each organization.
According to Safer Coordinator Christina Kaviani, each organization is catered to differently according to its “needs.” These are dictated by the president of the greek organization when they make an appointment with Safer.
“We have some organizations that say, ‘Can you focus on masculinity or how men can be involved in the movement to end violence and sexual assault?’” Kaviani said. “But we touch upon all topics, including consent and bystander intervention, in our presentations.”
Katy Palmer, Safer’s community outreach coordinator, said she’s done at least 15 greek presentations over her three-year course at Safer, and sees how these presentations have really grown — especially in education of women’s issues.
“They were really fantastic three years ago,” Palmer said. “But since working here, I’ve kind of noticed it growing and blossoming into focusing a lot more on the whole breadth of ‘Is there a cultural-societal issue that may be contributing to these statistics that we’re seeing?’”
The focus of these presentations, according to Palmer, is more on education of women’s issues. Images and videos shown during the presentations are predominantly of the effects of women’s body images in the media, sexual victimization and “slut shaming.”
While the presentations do incorporate men’s issues and their “enculturation into a specific box,” Palmer describes the content as geared toward women.
Men, however, are a vital part of the presentations and part of uniting both genders on the importance of these issues, Palmer said.
“We have a male working here who’s from a fraternity, and I think that alone speaks numbers for what progress we’re making,” she said.
Palmer and Kaviani both said educating the campus about issues pertaining to sexual assault should be the first step to achieving larger goals.
Kaviani said people might see themselves “outside of these issues” until it happens to them or someone they love, but hopes through these presentations, attitudes around sexual assault change people’s behaviors.
“Whether (these presentations) make people more assertive, confident in who they are or have higher self-esteem, we hope to engage people that this is a concern that they should feel is important to them, because it’s important to everyone,” Kaviani said. “Violence affects everyone.”
Palmer said she knows reaching every person through these presentations is impractical, but hopes that she can speak to and impact at least a few people who may be in these situations or know someone who is.
With these presentations, Palmer and Kaviani said they are certainly making progress in educating and empowering those on campus about these issues — especially encouraging students and faculty to realize their responsibility and capacity for making a change.
“I just want to stop victim blaming and I want to stop this cycle of sexual assault that’s occurring,” Palmer said. “That’s the ultimate hope.”