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K-State Today

September 20, 2017

New prevention trainings at Kansas State University aim to empower bystanders

Submitted by Division of Communications and Marketing

The power to prevent sexual assault may be in the hands of bystanders, according to a new program being implemented at Kansas State University.

The Bringing in the Bystander program, an interactive prevention training supported by research from the University of New Hampshire, has come to Kansas State University. The evidence-based trainings encourage and teach students to safely take a more active role in preventing or reporting sexual assault. The K-State's Center for Advocacy, Response and Education, or CARE, with the support of a task force, is providing three bystander intervention trainings per month.

The remaining September trainings will be from 5-6:30 p.m. Sept. 21 in 113 Leadership Studies and from 1-2:30 p.m. Sept. 25 in 114 K-State Student Union. Register for the trainings. Additional trainings for each month will be announced on the CARE education website and in K-State Today. The objectives are to help participants develop skills to safely intervene — directly or indirectly — in occurrences that could lead to sexual violence. 

"The Bringing in the Bystander program empowers and educates potential witnesses to situations that could lead to sexual violence or harassment," said Clara Kientz, assistant director for the center. "K-State implemented this program as part of the Heartland Project, which focuses on preventing sexual assault in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska."

As one of eight Midwestern universities involved in the Heartland Project, the task force evaluated the research that suggests trainings that focus on a community model are more effective, Kientz said. The Bystander program fulfills many of the task force's five main goals: Increase knowledge of resources available; increase prevention programing and policies; engage men to be stakeholders in violence prevention and positive social norm changes; increase use of public health and tiered prevention approaches at the university; and increasing effective sensitivity responses of partnering organizations.

Serving on the task force, Scott Jones, acting director of institutional equity, said Kansas State University has the opportunity to make a real difference in greater society by educating students on how to spot potential issues and giving them the tools they need to safely stop or report occurrences.

"We are working to incorporate the Bringing in the Bystander program into K-State 360, an optional program that gives students a well-rounded experience from diversity awareness to problem-solving," Jones said. "Bystander intervention training is another way students, faculty and staff can get a more universal education outside of the typical required curriculum."

As part of the It's On Us campaign, the university has many resources that can help encourage witnesses to become more active to stop or prevent violence before, during or after an occurrence. Read more at k-state.edu/care/itsonus/take-stand/intervene.html or attend a Bringing in the Bystander intervention training.

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