On June 4 through June 6, Rutgers hosted the annual National Sexual Violence Resource Center Advisory Board (NSVRC) meeting. The NSVRC is a national leader in addressing sexual violence and the Advisory Board is comprised of experts in the field.
During their visit, the work at Rutgers to address campus sexual violence was highlighted. Speakers presented the unique Rutgers "Whole School Approach" to addressing sexual violence, which means that Rutgers frames sexual violence as a community issue that everyone has a responsibility to address, from the senior leadership to staff and students.
The NSVRC heard from various representatives at Rutgers including General Counsel, Director of Title IX, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance, a project coordinator from the Center on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC), and a student from No MORE. The Advisory Board was also treated to a performance by SCREAM Theater.
Mariel Didato, who is earning her Master's in the Women and Gender Studies program and interning at VAWC, was impressed by the scope of areas covered during the meeting. She sees this as an excellent starting point. "There's a great need for more open conversation on a national scale for better education among students in high school and even earlier," she says. "24 percent of women going into college have already had an experience of sexual violence, so why are we waiting until college to have a direct conversation when these issues are happening around the life cycle?"
Dr. Sarah McMahon, Associate Director of the Center on Violence Against Women and Children who also serves on the Council and is the associate director of the Center on Violence and Against Women and Children, sees the meeting as an opportunity for collaboration with many of the leaders in the field. "The purpose of the annual meeting is for information-sharing, discussion, brain-storming, and formulating plans to address sexual violence across the country. It's inspiring to be in the same room with many the smartest people in the profession, and to come up with real solutions to keep our students and communities safer, and better informed."