DSU brings sexual harassment awareness through new website
Dakota State University’s new website titled, Stop Hurt. Start Here. (www.stophurtstarthere.com), defines sexual harassment, and gives the viewpoints of harassment from four major perspectives: the perpetrator, the target, the participating by-stander, and the passive by-stander. It describes the kinds of sexual harassment and the consequences of harassment not only for the target, but also the perpetrator.
The Stop Hurt. Start Here. site was developed in collaboration between DSU’s Dr. Stacey Berry, project co-advisor and Assistant Professor of English for New Media, and Kelly McLeod, project co-advisor and DSU Director of Theatre. The project was supported by a grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Campus Action Project (CAP) and funds from the DSU College of Arts and Sciences.
The website was created to inform all and support those dealing with sexual harassment. Whether you are the target, the by-stander or the perpetrator, the information provided brings insight to the sexual harassment issue prevalent in today’s society.
According to the AAUW's 2011 research report, ”Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School”, a nationally representative survey of 1,965 students in grades 7–12 conducted in May and June 2011, 56 percent of girls were more likely than 40 percent of boys to be sexually harassed. Also, witnessing sexual harassment at school was common, with 33 percent of girls and about 24 percent of boys that said they observed sexual harassment at their school in the 2010–11 school year.
The website content was written by recent DSU graduate in English for New Media, Catheryn Vogel. The videos and scenarios describing all the aspects of sexual harassment were written, scripted, acted, filmed and edited by the DSU Theatre and Digital Storytelling students, and the website creation and design work was done by DSU Assistant Professor of Audio Production, Nathan Edwards. The posters and artwork available throughout the site were all original designs created and submitted by DSU and area high school students.
“The website just went live before the start of the term, and we are all really proud of it!” said Berry.
The website’s creation came after the completion of a half-day workshop on the DSU campus for 100 eighth grade students and educators to increase their awareness of the incidence of sexual harassment in schools and to explore and practice ways of dealing with it. The DSU CAP team used the special abilities of students in drama, digital storytelling, and new media groups to develop the sexual harassment scenarios for the workshop presentations with the assistance and advice of area specialists, school counselors, teachers, professors, the AAUW report “Crossing the Line” and students.
The workshop, website, videos and resource materials could not have come together without many hours of volunteered time and a strong collaboration between the university and the community through the support of the CAP team of DSU students and faculty; the steering committee of area middle and high school counselors, local child advocacy leaders and speakers; the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Kari Forbes-Boyte; and the Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs, Jesse Kane.
Earlier this year, the AAUW picked seven projects from around the country that tackle the prevalent problem of sexual harassment in middle and high schools. Each project presented at the June 2012, National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), at the University of Maryland. The DSU CAP student leaders Donna Rice, a recent DSU Digital Arts and Design graduate; Matthew Thompson, a junior at Dakota State University majoring in elementary education; and Alyssa Massella Ternes, DSU English Education major, presented their work on the Stop Hurt. Start Here. project during the conference.
Recently, DSU’s AAUW CAP project, Stop Hurt. Start Here., was chosen as one of two teams to be featured in the 2012 AAUW annual report. The annual report can be found at http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/02/AAUW-annual-report-2012.pdf.
Local AAUW representative, Maureen Murphy, a DSU English faculty member, supported and initiated the grant application and project concept for the campaign. The AAUW plays a vital role in supporting gender equity for women and girls through research, fellowships and grants, public policy, college leadership programs, and assistance to individuals challenging sex discrimination in the workplace.