Lantis Professor Committed to Prevention of Violence
Lori Beth Way, coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program in the Department of Political Science, has received a Lantis Professorship for the coming academic year. Her project, “Keeping Our Students Safe,” will supplement the resources provided by a major grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for the Collaborative Response to Violence Project (CRVP).
This grant is a collaborative project with Butte College and community agencies, the purpose of which is to provide services to CSU, Chico and Butte College students who have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual assault, or stalking and to provide education on the realities of violence against women and how to prevent it.
The CRVP grant enabled the establishment of Safe Place, a site for students or friends of students who want to talk with someone about violence against women or need crisis intervention, and the hiring of two staff people, one each at CSU, Chico and Butte College. Volunteers from Catalyst and Rape Crisis are available at Safe Place to provide support and appropriate referrals for students, faculty, and staff who have been victims of these crimes.
What the CRVP grant doesn’t provide funding for is the educational materials needed to carry out the educational goal or for staff training, although they are required by the CRVP grant. That is where the Lantis grant, which will also provide time for Way to direct the program, comes in. It enhances the CRVP grant, said Way.
Students are involved in all aspects of this project and initially inspired Way to submit the grant. “One of the reasons I wrote this grant is that every semester after I talked about sexual violence or domestic violence in class, a student would come to me to tell me about an experience of her own. It was clear to me that there was a great need on the part of college students for a place to find someone to talk with and to ask critical questions.
“Now, I can say, ‘This place is for you,’” said Way. “ ‘We care. We support you, and we are not going to tolerate this kind of behavior.’
“Most people don’t realize that one in five college women will be sexually assaulted before she [most, but not all victims are female] graduates and one in three will be victimized over her lifetime. It’s this kind of information that needs to be transmitted, as well as information about ways friends and family can help in prevention and in support when violence happens.”
This first response to victims is critical. “One alarming fact I learned in a DOJ-sponsored training,” said Way, “is that if a victim goes to someone she trusts and is asked a question that might imply blame on her part, the average time it takes her to talk to anyone else is two years.
“In general, we do poorly in the incidence of sexual violence compared to other Westernized countries. My students often focus on international sensational stories, such as bride burning. As a culture, we don’t talk about femicide (or even use the word), and yet it is so prevalent in our country. Nor do we talk enough about how sexual violence most often occurs between people who know each other. It makes people uncomfortable.”
The research arm of the grant consists of the following primary activities: documenting the number of students served, the number of presentations, the kinds of crimes involved, and the way the project partners are working together and looking at other consortium programs and the flagship UC program (all of the UCs are involved) for effective practices.
“I am extremely honored to be recognized as a 2009–2010 Lantis University professor,” said Way. “I think it speaks volumes about our campus commitment to preventing violence and supporting victims when it does occur.”
—Kathleen McPartland, Public Affairs and Publications
California State University, Chico
400 West First Street
Chico, CA 95929-0040