Tulane’s Student Coalition for Sexual Violence Prevention and Response was formed in the fall as part of All In: Tulane’s Commitment to Stop All Sexual Violence and brings together students from across campus and student organizations to work on issues related to sexual violence prevention and response at Tulane. The goals of the coalition are to:
This past year, the coalition has provided support for various events, including the USG Town Hall on Sexual Violence and NAMI’s Sexual Health Festival. The coalition also kicked off this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month on April 2 at Tulane Tuesday and worked with GAPSA to sponsor a Sexual Assault Awareness Month panel on April 16.
Students interested in learning more about the coalition have two more opportunities to connect with members with semester. On April 23, the coalition is partnering with Tulane Athletics to spotlight Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Coalition members will be tabling at that evening’s baseball game, and statistics about sexual violence will be shared during the game. On April 26, the coalition will host an end-of-the-year event where all students are invited to drop in to learn more about opportunities for involvement and to provide feedback about current and future initiatives. Learn more about both events on the All In events page: allin.tulane.edu/events.
The coalition will resume regular meetings in the fall. Students who are interested in attending meetings or those who would like more info about the coalition can email Julia Broussard at email@example.com.
This month, Nick Fears writes an essay on imagining a world without sexual violence. Nick received his PhD in psychology this spring and started a post-doctorate position in psychology at the University of North Texas. He was the Tulane Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey Data Analyst. Nick was the Graduate and Professional Student Association President from 2016 to 2018; he also received the Tulane 34 Award.
A personal pledge
Imagine a world without sexual assault. I started this thought experiment by trying to think what it would take to have a world without sexual assault. I kept returning to a public thread on what women said they would do if there were no men in the world for 24 hours. It’s a provocative premise: Some might think this is an overreaction, to think about a world absent of men so women could live without fear. Hyperbole. But is it? It is undisputed that men are the primary perpetrators of sexual assault. And more than likely, a person’s assailant will be not just any man, but a man that they know.
The Twitter thread consists almost entirely of normal day-to-day things that women would do without the fear of sexual assault from men. There aren’t extravagant things on this list. It consists of the mundane things, walking at night or going to a bar alone, that I take for granted. Fear doesn’t dictate what I choose to do; I have a freedom women do not, and it was a freedom I did not even recognize until this Twitter-mirror was held up to me.
The question becomes, why is it this way? Brenda Tracy might tell you we failed to #SetTheExpectation for the men in our lives and organizations. Celeste Kidd and Jessica Cantlon might tell you universities failed to protect students. Jessica Harris might tell you we failed to center on students in the margins. Tarana Burke (#MeToo) and BethAnn McLaughlin (#MeTooSTEM) might tell you that this failure was a result of institutions retaliating against survivors and failing to remove predators from our communities.
I would tell you that society failed, or rather we failed to hold men, like me, accountable. I know how boys are trained to be men. Power and violence are praised and rewarded. Dominate everything in life. It wasn’t until adulthood that I realized it didn’t have to be this way and that perhaps my childhood role models were wrong.
So how do we create a world without sexual assault? I have spent the past few years wrestling with this question. As I poured over the sexual misconduct climate survey data day after day, and often late into the night, I couldn’t help but think about my own interactions. I couldn’t avoid the choices that I have made in life. In facing my own mistakes and coming to terms with my own contributions to this problem, I feel I was able to come to a solution for myself.
I can’t rewrite the past, but I can respond in the present and change the future. I have failed the past, but I won’t fail the present and I won’t fail the future.
It is with this in mind, that I made a personal pledge to continue to work toward a world without sexual assault. I will not only speak up for those that do not have a voice and intervene for those who cannot but, most importantly, I will be quiet, make space, and listen to those that have been silenced in the past. I ask that each of you take this pledge with me and maybe one day we will no longer have to just imagine a world without sexual assault.
Newcomb College Institute is once again offering Summer Sessions for high school students interested in women’s leadership, and this year students have the opportunity to learn about ending sexual assault. In the course Dismantling Rape Culture, students will work with Prof. Sally Kenney, NCI Executive Director, and Laura Wolford, NCI’s Assistant Director for Administration and Programs, to examine the problem of sexual violence as well as strategies for prevention and intervention. The Summer Session program is open to students entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school. The program offers a residential option and helps to expose participants to college academic experiences.
Dr. Cathy Taylor is an associate professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine (SPHTM), as well as the Director of Tulane’s Violence Prevention Institute. She is a perfect fit to lead the Violence Prevention Institute because she has more than 20 years of career experience focused on preventing violence, and especially family violence and child physical abuse. Nationally, she has worked with groups such as the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the National Summit to End Corporal Punishment of Children, and the American Academy of Pediatrics in efforts to prevent child physical abuse, particularly through changing social norms regarding hitting children for discipline.
Her work was cited extensively in the recently updated policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics entitled Effective Discipline to Raise Healthy Children. The new policy advises parents to not use corporal punishment due to the health risks it poses to children, and to instead use alternative forms of discipline. Her work has found that pediatricians are essential in delivering this message to parents and that most pediatricians understand the harms of corporal punishment for children. Since 2013, Dr. Taylor has been awarded over $4 million in grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to conduct research focused on the prevention of child physical abuse. Currently, Dr. Taylor directs the Tulane Innovations in Positive Parenting Study (TIPPS), a randomized control trial designed to examine the long-term effects of two brief parenting interventions on parenting behaviors and child outcomes. Her local partners on the study include the New Orleans Health Department, New Orleans Child Advocacy Center, and Children’s Bureau of New Orleans.
Within the Tulane University SPHTM, Dr. Taylor designed and teaches the graduate level course, Violence as a Public Health Problem. The course features both faculty and community partner guest speakers from across disciplines who are experts in studying or directing efforts to prevent violence throughout the New Orleans community. This class served as a seed that would eventually grow into the Violence Prevention Institute. She also co-designed and teaches the cross-disciplinary undergraduate course, Adverse Childhood Experiences: Intersections of violence, neuroscience, law, and public health.
The common thread that runs throughout her research, teaching, and professional practice is the desire to understand, inform, and implement innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to preventing violence that impacts children. A full list of her scientific publication can be found on her Google Scholar page.
As the academic year comes to a close, we invite you to take some time to look ahead. What would a world without sexual violence look like for all people? How do we get there? As you consider these questions, we encourage you to check out some recent journal articles that examine future directions for sexual violence work. In Violence Against Women, read “Envisioning Future Directions: Conversations with Leaders in Domestic and Sexual Assault Advocacy, Policy, Service, and Research.” In the Journal of Family Violence, read “Survivor-Centered Research: Towards an Intersectional Gender-Based Violence Movement” and “Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus in the U.S.: Four Thought Experiments.”
Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Tulane Baseball vs. Southeastern Louisiana
April 23, 6:30 p.m.
Greer Field at Turchin Stadium
Join the Student Coalition for Sexual Violence Prevention and Response, Tulane’s Panhellenic Council, and Tulane Athletics to raise awareness for sexual assault and cheer on the Green Wave baseball team. All students receive complimentary admission with a valid Tulane Splash Card, while seats are available.
Student Coalition for Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Drop-In Info and Feedback Session
April 26, 2-4 p.m.
LBC Pederson Lobby
Join the Student Coalition for Sexual Violence Prevention and Response for a look back at the past year and a look at what’s ahead. We want to hear from our fellow Tulane students. Stop in for a snack and provide feedback on the past year’s programming and efforts. You can also share suggestions for the upcoming year and learn more about how you can get more involved in violence prevention and response effort at Tulane.