ND community explores next steps in conversation on sexual assault

first_imgZachary Llorens | The Observer Students gather in the Notre Dame Room in LaFortune Student Center to receive bystander intervention training as part of the GreeNDot campaign, which emphasizes awareness and preemptive action.Christine Caron Gebhardt, director of the Gender Relations Center (GRC) said choosing a prevention program to implement at Notre Dame proved challenging because data is limited, and each program must be tailored to individual institutions. She said Green Dot does, however, have a target number of students to reach for reducing sexual violence on campus.“Green Dot’s measure of success is when you hit critical mass, which is 15 percent of your student body bystander-trained,” she said. “That is the point where you will see sexual assault decrease, both in your non-confidential resources and in your confidential resources.”Danny Funaro, chair of the department of gender issues for student government, said the campus community is making strides to hit the 15 percent point.“The last GreeNDot extended training was full,” he said. “There’s definitely a good amount of very involved people willing to go through these processes.”According to Aimee Herring, lead deputy prosecutor at the SVU of Saint Joseph County, the media have reported an increase in sexual assaults. However, she said, an increase in reported assaults does not necessarily reflect an actual increase in the number of assaults.“I think that that tells us we have victims who know that they have been violated, and know what to do when they have been violated and what options they have because they are seeking help if they need it, they are reporting if they want to, they know who to go to if they want to report,” she said.Herring said continuing that work would be an important task moving forward, to help educate victims and the community about sexual assault.“I think it is working,” she said. “I think that our college campuses in this community in general have come out and have spoken out about sexual assault in general and specifically saying we don’t want to see this in our community. … This community will not stand for that.”Annie Kuster, a senior and part of the GRC’s FIRE Starters program, said improving University policy and awareness has been a positive but that the conversation about sexual assault requires the community to go further than that.“I think there has to be a little bit of a culture shift because I think right now there are still some areas that are particularly vulnerable,” she said. “ … So now, maybe people are starting to understand what’s going on, but people might still leave their girlfriends at a party and go on to the next one because she wants to stay. … Or, everyone’s drinking heavily, and we don’t have a sober friend to make sure that everything’s under control.”She said promoting a culture that does not tolerate sexual assault would require “putting steps together of what does it actually mean to respect somebody, and get to know somebody, and have these conversations that foster a healthy relationship instead of one that could lead down a potentially negative path, for both parties.”Echoing that idea, Abby Palko, associate director of the Gender Studies program, said because faculty and administration are not present in situations where sexual assaults are more likely to happen, change must come from students — with help.“My hope is that you all who are here now as students are able to create the kind of campus culture you want to be in, and that is healthy for everyone, and that is a space where people can flourish and grow,” she said. “There are supports that the administration can put in place, but a lot of it has to come from students deciding what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. And the faculty are here to support you. In some ways it sounds silly, but we’re almost completely powerless here.“We can advocate for change to the rules, we can advocate for accountability, but we don’t actually create that. And we’re not at the parties with you, and we’re not there to say, ‘Hey, do you really want that seventh drink?’ or “You two don’t really look like you know what’s going on right now, maybe you should separate.’ We’re not there to do that. It feels like all we can do is say, ‘Yes, we’re behind you,’ as you work to bring about this change, and there are lots of faculty who want to do that.”Senior Skyler Hughes, a producer for Loyal Daughters and Sons, said talking candidly about sex and other gender issues would also be a necessary part of the conversation moving forward.“Being this Catholic, relatively conservative campus, there’s a lot of silence around sex in general,” Hughes said. “And by extension, there can be a lot of silence around sexual assault. I think that there’s been a little bit of a breaking of the silence on that issue — on specifically sexual assault — because people are now willing to talk about that, but people are still very uncomfortable with talking about some of the other issues.“But these other issues are not unrelated to the issue of sexual assault. When you’ve got different gender dynamics, gender relations, they can contribute to certain power dynamics that can promote a culture that allows sexual assault to happen.”In the context of a Catholic university, Caron Gebhardt said it is important to realize that the idea of consent is relevant not only in relation to sexual assault but in any acts of physical intimacy.“So all the ways a Catholic institution would hold firm to our value that sexual activity would remain within the marriage context, we also recognize that there’s layers, levels of sexual activity that occur between our students — and there should be consent at all of those times, in all of those ways,” she said.From the perspective of preventing sexual violence, Caron Gebhardt said, consent requires looking at how each person in the relationship is being valued.“It’s really about how each person is being treated with dignity, which is inherently part of who we are a Catholic institution,” she said. “Now I know as students, it’s like, you want to know, ‘Is this consent? Is that not consent?’ because there are procedural questions. But more importantly, what I’ll say to students is, if you can’t talk about it, then how could you possibly do it?“ … Students are going to make choices, and if they choose to engage at that level of sexual intimacy, that’s fine, but hopefully they’ve laid a ground where if that were to happen, each person would be treated with respect.”Managing Editor Jack Rooney, Associate News Editors Clare Kossler and Catherine Owers and News Writer Katie Galioto contributed to this story.Tags: Fire Starters, GRC, greeNDot, loyal daughters and sons, sexual assault, sexual assault series, sexual assault series 2015, St Joseph County SVU, Student government Editor’s note: This is the fifth and final installment in a five-part series on sexual assault at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. Today’s story focuses on the future of the conversation on sexual violence.The conversation on sexual assault is changing.In the last three years alone, the University- and student government-supported initiatives have transitioned from those of awareness and education to advocacy and bystander intervention with the One Is Too Many, It’s On Us and GreeNDot initiatives, student body chief of staff Dan Sehlhorst told The Observer in October.Launched at Notre Dame earlier this month, Green Dot is a national program that teaches bystander intervention to students to help prevent sexual assault in their own communities. The program draws its name from crime maps, in which red dots “typically suggest the spread of some terrible epidemic with each dot representing an individual case. Together, these red dots are the accumulation of individual decisions, moments, values and actions that contribute to a culture of violence and bystander inaction,” according to the student affairs website. On the contrary, “green dot behaviors” represent instances where red dots were avoided or combatted through behaviors like bystander intervention.last_img read more

IPE Views: Should investors be concerned about farm animal welfare?

first_imgThe treatment of company staff has long been on the radar for investors. But Joseph Mariathasan says that animal welfare is just as important  Should issues of animal welfare matter to investors? In the extreme case, the answer is a pretty clear yes. Jeremy Coller pointed out at the launch of the 2014 Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) last week, that as a result of Blackfish, a critical documentary on the treatment by Seaworld of a killer whale, attendance at the Seaworld amusement park fell by 30% and their share price fell by a third and has yet to recover. In contrast, he says, restaurant chain Chipotle saw a 23% increase in revenues in the second half of 2012 after it sold itself on sourcing its meat from farmers who treat their livestock humanely without the use of industrialised factory farming.Clearly extreme cases can impact companies both for the better as well as for the worse. But apart from the purely moral arguments, which can often be controversial, there are also issues pertaining to human health. The widespread overuse of antibiotics in animals as a disease prevention measure has been an effective cost reduction strategy for the farming industry. But it creates the spectre of antibiotic resistant strains of pathogens that are potentially harmful to the human population being incubated within the food producing animal industry.As the BBFAW report argues, such a prophylactic use of antibiotics, which accounts for nearly half of all the antibiotics produced worldwide, is used to compensate for an inherently low-welfare environment in intensive farming where animal immune systems are compromised and sickness is more likely. It is another example of an activity where economic externalities have not been priced in, so the user of antibiotics benefits by an amount which can be dwarfed by the amount that society as a whole, loses. Proponents of better treatment of farm animals have the objective of raising standards of care throughout the industry and that is a difficult issue to get the attention of the investor community. The underlying rationale for the creation of the BBFAW is clear – what you can’t measure, can’t be managed, whether important or not.In that respect, the BBFAW reports are an invaluable first step to analysing the issues. They assess company approaches to farm animal welfare purely on the basis of published information in three core areas: Firstly a management’s commitment and policy regarding animal welfare that includes specific policies on issues such as close confinement and long distance transport; secondly governance and management covering areas such as farm animal welfare-related objectives, supply chain management and performance reporting and, thirdly, leadership and innovation including research and development and customer engagement.There are 80 companies within the analysis in the three sectors of food retailers and wholesalers, restaurants and bars and food producers. But as the report acknowledges, the practice and reporting of farm animal welfare remains relatively underdeveloped. 85% of the companies acknowledged farm animal welfare as an issue, but only 64% have formalised their commitment in overarching policies or equivalent documents, whilst only 33 out of the 80 companies publish farm animal welfare-related objectives and targets.Benchmarks are useful in not only providing a measurement, but also in encouraging improvement. Positioning relative to a peer group is always of critical interest, whether to an individual or to a company. In that respect, the BBFAW reports themselves provide a catalyst for improving behaviour.The dilemma for its proponents though, is that fund managers who can influence companies, are themselves only going to be interested in doing so when it comes to ESG issues if they are under pressure from their own institutional clients. But few pension funds would see farm animal welfare as an issue of concern. For that to change there would need to be a greater interest from their own trustees and beneficiaries.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPE,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to 2014 BBFAW reportlast_img read more

Anthony Joshua Meets Challenger Kubrat Pulev In Cardiff.

first_imgRelated IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev met for the first time at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales – venue for their October 28 contest.It was a calm meet with both pugilists respectful and shared smiles accompanied with an unplanned handshake in the President’s Lounge in front of the assembled media to officially announce their heavyweight tussle.“I can tell you he’s more determined than ever to go on creating history and defend these titles against all comers, mandatory’s, unifications. What a great fight he has against Kubrat Pulev here on October 28th which is likely to house just under 80,000.” – Matchroom Sports Managing Director Eddie HearnSuccinct details on both fighters:Joshua – Started at 18 years of age – at 19 he won the ABA championships – at 21, he won silver at the World Championships which was shortly accompanied by a gold medal won at the London 2012 Olympics – at 23, he turned professional – at 25, he won the Commonwealth title – at 26, he won the IBF world title and at 27 he unified the division in front of 90,000 people at Wembley.Pulev – (25-1, 13 KOs), The Bulgarian fought at five World Championships throughout the 2000s. He represented his country at the Olympics in 2008. He won gold at the 2008 European Championships in Liverpool. He turned professional in late 2009. Currently No. 3 with the WBC, No. 7 with the WBA, No. 3 with the WBO and the No. 1 challenger, the mandatory for the IBF and No. 3 with the Bible of Boxing, THE RING Magazine.Tickets for the event are priced at £40, £60, £80, £100, £200, £300 and £500 – with VIP tickets priced at £1500.A reminder that it has been nearly a decade since the stadium was the venue for a boxing match, when it hosted the Joe Calzaghe-Mikkel Kessler super middleweight unification. Also, the principality was chosen as venue for the all-British heavyweight title fight between Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno in 1993.last_img read more