Wrist bands for Emerson STANDS on display at the Emerson Violence Prevention and Response office in the Ansin Building. (Photo by Dan O'Brien)
Emerson’s Violence Prevention and Response (VPR) is rallying students, faculty, staff, and alumni to get involved in a series of events on and off campus to promote prevention of sexual assault, stalking, harassment, and abusive relationships.
Communities United Against Violence is a VPR-led initiative that coincides with the national Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April and the White House’s “It’s On Us” sexual assault awareness campaign.
“Advocacy, prevention, and education to foster a safe and violence-free community are paramount to us,” said Melanie Matson, director of VPR. “Everyone deserves to be safe from violence and harm and everyone can play a role in shaping a community they want to be in. The Communities United Against Violence theme speaks to the number of activities offered by organizations on and off campus to foster a safe, inclusive, and violence-free community.”
VPR offers a safe and confidential space for graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, or anyone affiliated with Emerson College to seek help, support, and/or resources if they have been impacted by power-based interpersonal violence, which includes sexual assault, stalking, and abusive relationships.
VPR is soon releasing a video public service announcement as well as literature and social media posts to promote Communities United Against Violence, in conjunction with the Sexual Assault Awareness Month and It’s On Us campaigns.
Below is a list of some upcoming Communities United Against Violence events in which VPR and the Emerson community are participating. Events and updates will be publicized on the emerson.edu events calendar.
· Ongoing: Emerson STANDS (Stand Together. Act Now. Do Something). Emerson STANDS is an active bystander campaign and training program that encourages and equips potential bystanders with the knowledge, skills, and resources to safely and effectively intervene to prevent power-based interpersonal violence, including sexual assault and harassment, abusive relationships and bullying, and stalking and threats. Visit the VPR website if you are interested in participating.
· Sunday, March 29, 1:00-5:00 pm: Community-Building and Activism Summit: Open to all students—undergraduates, graduates, and international students—who are seeking to participate in upcoming activities to promote non-violence and social justice. There will be “ice breaker” activities, games, and group discussions to get to know one another and collaborate on ways to promote a culture of nonviolence and inclusion. RSVP on the VPR website. More information: Melanie_matson@emerson.edu or 617-824-8857.
· Monday, April 6, 7:00 pm: Screening and discussion of The Mask You Live In. Watch the documentary The Mask You Live In, which follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity, followed by a panel discussion with author and Associate Professor Jabari Asim of Writing, Literature, and Publishing, Tikesha Morgan, director of Multicultural Affairs and LGBTQ Student Resources, and Craig Norberg-Baum of Jane Doe Inc. Location: Bright Family Screening Room, Paramount Center. More information: Melanie_matson@emerson.edu. Student organization Emerson Peace and Social Justice, sorority Kappa Gamma Chi, and fraternity Phi Alpha Tau are co-sponsoring this event with VPR.
· Sunday, April 12, 9:30 am: Walk for Change. Members of the Emerson community will participate in the Walk for Change to benefit the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. Location: Artesani Park, 1255 Soldiers Field Road, Brighton. RSVP at the Violence Prevention and Response website. More information: Melanie_matson@emerson.edu; or 617-824-8857.
· April 12-19: Emerald Empowerment Week. Sponsored by the sorority Kappa Gamma Chi, the annual week of events at Emerson is held to promote awareness of domestic violence, partner abuse, and sexual assault. This year’s events include a photo/video campaign, a policy panel discussion, and a screening of The Hunting Ground on April 15. For more information, visit the Kappa Gamma Chi Facebook page.
· Friday, April 17, 12:00 pm: Jeans for Justice Rally. Wear jeans all day to visually unite against violence and support people impacted by violence. At 12:00 pm in Common Ground, the 10th floor of the Walker Building, the Emerson community will gather for a rally to further show the community’s stand against violence. All students, faculty, and staff are welcome.