MCVP and SAFE Make Plans for Sexual Violence Prevention


Photo Courtesy of the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention.

By Jack O'Leary, News Writer


On Monday, Nov. 16, the Students for Action Focused Empowerment’s Dating Culture Committee, Chaired by student Hannah Torabi, held a joint forum with the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention, which opened this past September. The mission of the MCVP centers is eliminating relationship and sexual violence through prevention.

The MCVP, along with SAFE, wants to improve safety culture on campus and specifically focus on education as well as innovating away from responsive actions to more preventative measures.

The forum opened with brief introductions, a presentation about sexual assault and consent.

Tayler Bseiso, a student staff member at the MCVP, helped lead the presentation and on the topic of the center’s mission, emphasized they are “working upstream of violence rather than treating it after it happens.”

“We also want to acknowledge this is not a comprehensive list of all the victims of relationship and sexual violence within our community and the stories that we don’t know are just as important as the ones that we do,” Bseiso said, in remembrance of victims Lauren McCluskey, MacKenzie Lueck, and Sarah Hawley who were murdered as a result of relationship violence.

Relationship and sexual violence include acts of violence such as sexual assault, rape, relationship and dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and other acts. According to the MCVP, relationship and sexual violence can also be defined as a behavior associated with power and manipulation to cause harm to another individual in sexual or romantic relationships.

“There are lots of myths out there about sexual assault and relationship violence, and there’s also a lot of heavy responsibility placed on victims and potential victims for ending relationship and sexual violence. One of the things we want to do is interrupt that by changing the narrative,” said MCVP Director and Education Professor Chris Linder.

According to the forum, 86% of sexual assaults were committed by someone the victim knew, and about one in eight men in college had committed an act that would meet the classifications of sexual assault.

“These numbers are telling us that we are looking in the wrong direction of who may be perpetrating harm and that we should be putting more resources and energy towards understanding the relationships that we have and also some of the healthy behaviors that we should expect,” Bseiso said.

According to Linder, there is also a difference between the legal definition of sexual assault and someone feeling like they’ve been harmed, but just because someone may not be legally responsible doesn’t mean another person is not hurting due to their actions.

“We’re really really really really working hard to shift the narrative away from that [response policy] and to get us to focus on primary prevention, which means that instead of teaching people how not to get raped we’re teaching people how not to rape,” Linder said.

Going forward, the MCVP wants to engage people in the long-term educational process and is organizing affinity groups for certain topics as well as a four-part workshop program within the Eccles School of Business to address issues of violence prevention that will end with students designing their own action plans.

“Kind of the precursors to perpetration comes from things that were taught, growing up… and so a lot of this is just about education and making sure that kind of understanding more of the precursors that go into violence, and also some of the things, that like Chris said, we can do to prevent ourselves from causing harm,” Bseiso said.

While there are other awareness programs regarding sexual assault on campus, the MCVP focuses more on education and research separately from other groups.

“We have to add to response separately because if prevention and response are kept in the same space or organization then response will take over due to the way our society is set up,” Linder said.


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