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Voices Raised

Takeaways for Change

By Josh Segalewitz '20

PAVE, Peers Advocating for Violence Education, is a student group of peer educators that is an extension of the Dean of Students office. We are defined by our commitment to educating the undergraduate population at UD on instances of power-based personal violence and how these instances can be avoided. While this is no easy feat, since our beginning in 2013, PAVE has developed several programs that engage students to consider the effect that sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking can have on our community and the steps that everyone can take to help combat this widespread problem. With 30 active members, 3 interactive presentations, 12 ongoing projects, and opportunities for students to participate in one-on-one dialogue, PAVE has done more than ever before in the fight towards ending power-based personal violence on our campus. 

One aspect of sexual violence that is emphasized in every presentation is its universality: sexual violence can occur to anyone across any number of identities including (but not limited to) sex, gender, race, class, and socioeconomic status. With that being said, however, it would be incomplete to discuss sexual violence without also discussing the role of masculinity. In reality, the vast majority of perpetrators of sexual violence are men. Thus, being able to deconstruct the ways in which men and boys are taught about sexuality becomes integral in lowering the number of assaults that take place.

Masculinity-Workshop.pngThe Healthy Masculinity Training Institute helped us to better understand the ways in which young men and boys are taught about masculinity and the various impacts those lessons have. Perhaps the most important take-away from the conference was a more nuanced understanding of the deep ties between masculinity and sexual violence. However, in the context of PAVE, simply understanding these more complex topics is not always enough.

This conference went further; we gained valuable facilitation tools that can be used to teach others about this link. Motivated by the idea that groups of learners, through guided discussion, thorough questions, and thoughtful reflection, can learn most information fairly easily, this conference gave us the tools to facilitate discussions and engage students in what can sometimes be an otherwise uncomfortable topic. After attending, I feel confident in my ability to lead a provocative program surrounding masculinity that would prompt participants to contemplate the role that masculinity plays in their lives.

Lastly, the tools gained in this training are not applicable only to conversations surrounding masculinity. While considering updates to some of the cornerstone presentations that PAVE leads, I see these methods easily being expanded and incorporated to discuss other key topics, whether that be sexual assault on campus, stalking, intimate partner violence, rape culture, intersectionality, or a number of other pertinent topics. At the end of the day, we are walking away from this life-changing experience with a wealth of new information and facilitation techniques that, once incorporated into what PAVE is already doing, will push the University of Dayton’s campus one step closer in forming the community that we all aspire for it to be.

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