Buffalo State Organizes Inaugural Violence-Prevention Week

Buffalo State’s annual “Take Back the Night” tradition will now be part of a larger week of events aimed to educate the Buffalo State community about ways to prevent violence, especially sexual assault. Violence Prevention Week takes place April 19–24 with a variety of activities for students, faculty, staff, and the larger community.

Dorothy Edwards, founding director of the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center at the University of Kentucky, will meet with faculty, staff, and students on the topic of preventing sexual assault and violence on campus and in the community on Friday, April 24, in the Campbell Student Union Social Hall. Her presentation will include the importance of the “bystander” in preventing violence. Her talk will be repeated three times—at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 2:30 p.m.—to allow as many people as possible to attend. A reception will follow from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Edwards will also serve as the keynote speaker for the 31st annual Take Back the Night event, which begins in the Campbell Student Union Social Hall at 7:00 p.m. Take Back the Night, which is designed to empower survivors of sexual and domestic violence, will include poetry readings, survivor stories, monologues, and music.

Edwards holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Texas Woman’s University. She has worked in counseling and teaching capacities in higher education at Appalachian State University and Texas Women’s University. With a specialty in primary prevention, she has developed and implemented professional training seminars on topics related to violence against women, diversity, and organizational capacity building for universities and nonprofit organizations across the country.

Members of the One in Four organization will provide violence-prevention workshops in Bulger Communication Center North on April 19: a program for men from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m., and a program for women from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. They will also address the critical role of the bystander in high-risk situations and how to help others recover from traumatic experiences. One in Four, currently on a national campus tour, is named for the statistic that one in four college-age women will become a victim of sexual assault.

A free screening of the movie Milk will take place in the Campbell Student Union Fireside Lounge on April 20 at 7:00 p.m. It stars Sean Penn, who recently won an Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Harvey Milk, San Francisco’s first openly gay public official, who was assassinated by a former city supervisor.

On April 21 at 5:00 p.m., the Buffalo State community is invited to gather in the Campbell Student Union Social Hall for free pizza while working on a community quilt to be displayed during Take Back the Night on April 24.

Tammy Kresge, coordinator for health promotions in Weigel Health Center, said the quilt includes individually designed squares of fabric to symbolize solidarity.

“The quilt brings everyone’s stories together,” she said. “I hope faculty and staff can attend; the event is a wonderful opportunity to see students in their environment.”

Kresge and Donald Pembleton, health educator at Weigel, have been organizing Violence Prevention Week since the fall. They wanted to tie messages of violence prevention to the campuswide push to create a “caring and civil community,” spearheaded by Charles Kenyon, dean of students. Fittingly, the week’s theme is dubbed “Do Something!”

Kresge anticipates a record turnout of more than 500 students at Take Back the Night. “Everything takes place in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” she said. “We hope to begin a tradition at Buffalo State of even greater awareness of violence prevention.”

Violence Prevention Week is sponsored by the Weigel Health Center’s Health Promotions unit and United Students Government, and is supported by the Equity and Campus Diversity Minigrant Program, the Auxiliary Services Grant Allocation Committee, the Faculty-Student Association, and the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence against Women. More than 15 student organizations were also involved in the event planning. For more information, contact Kresge, 878-6725.