By: Hayden Cordova | Lifestyle Editor
On Tuesday, Sept. 24, the annual Bro-Code Bystander Intervention Program took place in the Student Center Ballroom. Coordinated by the Violence Prevention Alliance or VPA, Bro-Code works in tandem with its sister group Girl’s Night Out to reach out to students and equip them with the information needed to identify and help prevent sexual assault on campus.
Kelsey Bryant, the Education Coordinator with the Rape Crisis Center responsible for compiling the educational content of the event, stated that their main objective is to increase bystander awareness.
“Over the course of this event, we define what exactly sexual assault and consent are, and give some information about how to intervene,” Bryant elaborated. “Bystander intervention is top priority and knowing what you can do to help someone who might be a victim of sexual assault can make a huge difference.”
The attendees of the event dispersed across the student center to engage in small group discussions, ran by trained student facilitators, about how to be a responsible and active bystander in situations of sexual assault.
“It’s nice because most of the facilitators are students,” said Bryant, “and it’s great for that information to come from one student to another because I think that’s very impactful.”
With statistics reporting that 1 in 5 college women and 1 in 6 college men have experienced some form of sexual assault on campus, Buckley Freeman, the Coordinator for University Programs and an affiliate of VPA, recognizes the need for bystanders to be more willing to act in situations like parties where peer pressure can discourage prevention.
We just want people to understand the truth about these sexual situations and consent,” said Freeman. “Alcohol sort of muddies that water, but providing safe support for someone that they see in trouble is what we want bystanders to be capable of.”
Freeman credits the lack of knowledge about how to act as a bystander to sexual assault relates to a broader disconnect between people.
“I think that as far as our awareness is concerned,” Freeman stated, “especially as we become a little more disconnected from social scenarios due to our increased reliance and attachment on phones and other electronics, it’s important to make people aware of how they can be aware in these situations.”
Regarding Bro-Code’s future, Freeman hopes that more people will take the time to attend and help it expand its outreach.
“We would like to have enough attendance so that we could do a fall and spring session. We learn every year how to improve upon it and always welcome suggestions, concerns, and thoughts from people on campus, so it informs the way that we plan for future events.”