Three More Years for Campus Against Sexual Assault Program

Three More Years for Campus Against Sexual Assault Program

November 9, 2016

Logo - CASA Campus Against Sexual Assault

WOU awarded $300,000 to continue work on sexual violence prevention and response.

The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women awarded $300,000 to The Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University to continue the campus collaboration on sexual and interpersonal violence prevention and response. The WOU Campus Against Sexual Assault (WOU CASA) program, initially funded in 2010, has been renewed for the third time for an additional three years.

The WOU CASA program focuses on sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking. The continuation of the WOU CASA program will include expanded prevention and education programming for WOU students including all incoming students, and an expansion of the existing survivor advocacy services through Abby’s House and the Student Health and Counseling Center.

Building on the past six years

The program will continue to establish protocols to strengthen the coordinated community response to address and prevent sexual and interpersonal violence on campus. The continuation program will support the training of campus public safety officers, campus disciplinary boards, residential education staff, and peer advocates to better support survivors of violence. Finally the program will continue to strengthen community partnerships with local law enforcement and community agencies that serve our students.

Mary Ellen Dello Stritto, Ph.D.

“In the past six years, WOU has made significant progress in improving our campus-wide response to sexual and relationship violence," Dr. Mary Ellen Dello Stritto, Project Director for WOU CASA explains. "As a result of this work, survivors of sexual and relationship violence are more comfortable reaching out to campus resources for help and support." The continuation of this program will allow WOU to focus on campus-wide prevention efforts, and expand services for survivors.

WOU President, Dr. Rex Fuller adds, “The grant extension will enable Western to continue its efforts to eliminate violence against women. It is an instrumental source of funding to further our goal of providing a safe campus for all of our students. Western prides itself as being safe," Dr. Fuller continues, "and with women comprising over 60% of enrollment, the grant is vital to our outreach efforts.”

Aislinn Addington, Ph.D., (pronounced Eyes-Lyn), the new Director of WOU's Abby's House, will be working closely with Dr. Dello Stritto providing direct services to WOU students. With a strong background in gender equity, Dr. Addington brings a very clear lens to the project. "Seeing someone as a human being makes it more difficult to hurt them," she explains. "So, educating ourselves and others to truly see the humanity in all people, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, etc., is a first step in extinguishing the rampant violence that we see."

Healthy Masculinity

A group of about 100 male students and a few older men (mentors) stand in a semi-circle facing the camera.

For about the past 15 months, WOU CASA, in partnership with Athletics, has been coordinating the Healthy Masculinity and Campus Athletics project. The purpose of this project is to initiate a campus dialogue on healthy masculinity and to engage student-athletes as leaders in violence prevention on campus. In a recent activity of this project, which took place on September 13, 2016, 120 student-athletes participated in a workshop provided by Kathy Toon of the Positive Coaching Alliance.

The workshop focused on ways to develop leadership skills and strengthen team chemistry through positive attitude and visualization. Student-athletes from cross country, football, soccer, volleyball and women's basketball participated in session.

Dr. Addington says, "I'm excited about more dialogue with men for the purpose of prevention and equity for all people."

Moving forward

"For the past 6 years," Dr. Dello Stritto explains, "WOU CASA have focused on developing our response protocols and building our infrastructure. The next 3 years will focus on prevention."

Click here for more information about WOU-CASA.

The Research Institute : Western Oregon University : 345 N. Monmouth Ave. : Monmouth, OR 97361
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