Photos by Jaime Sillas / MTSU Sidelines
MTSU’s June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students hosted its second annual MTBaeWatch Beach Party Tuesday to raise awareness about sexual violence and provide information for students about bystander intervention.
The June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students is a facility at MTSU that works to provide support services for both female students and adult students with obligations outside of college. The organization also advocates for MTSU Power of One bystander intervention training and works to raise awareness for sexual violence.
Part of bystander intervention involves students understanding the “four D’s:” direct, distract, delegate and delay. Each of these techniques can be used to aid students in situations where sexual violence may occur.
Being a Connection Point event, BaeWatch attracted many freshman students looking to attend campus events. Zach Glisson, a business administration major, was one freshman attending the beach party.
Glisson had been to the MTSU Convocation ceremony and “Shut Up and Dance,” two other Connection Point events he said he enjoyed. He said that he was looking forward to many outdoor Connection Point events this semester while it’s still warm outside.
“This (Connection Point) seemed like a really fun one to get out to, and it has a really good message,” Glisson said.
The “message” is one that MTSU Senior Abbigail Tracy and the faculty at the June Anderson Center worked hard to spread.
“We wanted to make a fun event where students could come and learn about bystander intervention, different forms of violence, what consent is and also (have) resources that they can reach out to if they have been a victim of sexual violence or their friends have,” Tracy said. “We have a lot of people who came together to plan this, so we’re very thankful.”
The party had music, corn hole, volleyball and food catering. Signs were posted up with information about bystander awareness and sexual violence. There was also a student-created virtual reality bystander intervention simulation game on display for attendees to play out scenarios where they would protect someone from sexual violence by putting the four D’s into practice.
For many event goers, MTBaeWatch may just be another social outing to meet friends. For some, however, it may later serve as a critical reminder to be safe or to keep others safe.
As previously noted in 2017’s BaeWatch article with statistics from the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 11.2 percent of all graduate and undergraduate students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. Only 20 percent of female student victims between the age of 18 and 24 report the incidents to law enforcement.
MTSU has a “No Closed Doors” policy, meaning that victims of sexual assault cannot be turned away from seeking help. MTSU provides many options for students who wish to contact help. Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to utilize MTSU’s resources, which can be found here.
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