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Avon Foundation for Women Awards Campus Grant to Emerson College

Media Contacts:

Carole McFall, Emerson College, carole_mcfall@emerson.edu, 617-824-8415

Kristen Clonan, Avon Foundation for Women, Kristen.Clonan@avon.com, 212-282-6797

BOSTON, MA (September 2, 2015) – Emerson College has received a $10,000 grant from the Avon Foundation for Women through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative. The grant will fund the efforts of Violence Prevention and Response at Emerson College to activate bystanders to reduce sexual assault, dating abuse, and stalking. This is the second year that the College has received funding from the Avon Foundation for Women.

The grant is one of 25 Avon campus grants totaling $250,000 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 offering local resources and providing 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 the Clery Act was passed 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.

In April 2014, the White House issued NOT ALONE: The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, highlighting steps that 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 for free. 

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 has funded campus dating abuse programs to educate significant numbers of student groups and faculty to create awareness, recognize the warning signs of abuse, and encourage students to safely intervene to help prevent violence.

“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 engage Emerson students, staff, and faculty of all backgrounds, identities, and experiences with Emerson STANDS (Stick Together. Act Now. Do Something.) active bystander intervention activities to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and empathetic attitudes to be active bystanders and shape a safe and inclusive campus,” said Dr. Melanie Matson, director of Violence Prevention and Response at Emerson College.

Avon Foundation for Women and the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence Program

The Avon Foundation for Women is the world’s largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on issues that matter most to women. Since its inception in 1955, the Avon Foundation has promoted or aided charitable, scientific, educational, and humanitarian activities, with a special emphasis on activities that improve the lives of women and their families. Through 2014, Avon global philanthropy, led by the Avon Foundation, has contributed nearly $1 billion in more than 50 countries. Today, Avon philanthropy focuses on funding breast cancer research and advancing access to quality care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade and efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Visit www.avonfoundation.org for more information.

About Emerson College

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,750 undergraduates and 750 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its study and internship programs in Los Angeles; Washington, DC; the Netherlands; London; China; and the Czech Republic. For more information, visit www.emerson.edu.

For more information on Violence Prevention and Response at Emerson College, please contact www.emerson.edu/vpr or 617-824-8857.

For more information about relationship abuse, please visit www.breakthecycle.org. To receive immediate help, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474.

To learn more about the Avon Foundation for Women, visit www.avonfoundation.org, where you can access information about Speak Out Against Domestic Violence.

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