Saturday, May 16, 2009

University of Mary Washington

The Virginia Coalition Against Campus Sexual Assault is sponsoring a statewide conferences focusing on emerging gender-based violence issues on college campuses. The target audience for this conference includes campus based advocates, counselors, educators, student affairs professionals, and administrators, as well as community based advocates, counselors, educators, and anyone else interested in working with college students on gender-based violence issues.

The Virginia Coalition Against Campus Sexual Assault is a network of campus and community professional throughout Virginia who work on gender based violence issues. With support from the Virginia Department of Health, the Coalition offers networking and educational opportunities through such avenues as statewide conferences and webinars.

Angela Rose, Keynote Speaker
At the age of seventeen, Angela was abducted at knifepoint while leaving her job at a shopping mall in the suburbs of Chicago. She was taken and then assaulted by a repeat sex offender on parole for murder. Angela was eventually let go by the offender; a bruised and disoriented Rose was then shocked at the treatment of her case by the authorities. All of the anguish that existed during the abduction was immediately replaced by anger and a strong sense of vigilance. Angela worked with the perpetrator's previous victims as well as the community to help enact Illinois Sexually Dangerous Persons Commitment Act in 1998. Upon attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Angela became frustrated by the lack of activism on this crucial issue. Angela then founded the organization PAVE to create education and action surrounding the issues of sexual violence, which was inclusiveness to all individuals and their experiences. As the Executive Director, Angela has cultivated PAVE into a national organization and continues to inspire others to join the movement to end sexual assault by traveling the country and abroad.

Campus and Community Collaboration
I will be speaking on behalf of my local agency, along with Lee Carter Smith from Radford University and Jenn Underwood from Virginia Tech about collaboration between colleges and university campuses and the larger communities in which they exist and how vitally important in addressing gender based violence. Whether it is providing services to survivors of violence or working on prevention and education initiatives, neither group can be as effective on their own as they can be together. This session will explore avenues of campus and community collaboration, including both challenges and promising practices. Examples from Virginia communities will be used and ample time will be given for group discussion.

The afternoon will be filled with breakout sessions for the attendees to choose from various topics from engaging men in violence prevention, to bystander behavior, trauma response, to programming roundtable discussions.

It's wonderful to be a part of dedicated individuals that care about the communities, and the future of the generations to come!