Increasing access to resources for sexual violence/misconduct prevention and response is one of the priorities for UMBC’s Retriever Courage initiative. In September 2018, students shared that UMBC community members often don’t know how or where to seek help and support, or where they can access training and learn how to be better bystanders and support survivors.
The activist/advocacy student group, We Believe You proposed a pilot project featuring two resource stands in The Commons with brochures for on- and off-campus information. The stands are installed on the ground floor by the stairs near the Yum Shoppe and in the lobby across from the information desk. They include UMBC’s on-campus resources brochure and materials from the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault Legal Institute, Turnaround, and RAINN.
“We want resources for survivors to be as easily accessible as possible, but it is also important for conversations about assault and prevention to be normalized and not considered taboo,” explains We Believe You President Nadia BenAissa ‘20, gender, women’s, and sexuality studies. “We want people to walk into buildings and see that we’re putting more into the conversation and that the University is doing what was promised last fall.”
We Believe You members will keep track of brochure quantities to determine how the stands are being used during the spring semester before making recommendations to Retriever Courage partners about expanding the project. The Retriever Courage Implementation Team is also working with partners to find additional ways to post resources and information across campus.
More information about on- and off-campus resources for care, support, and education is available at courage.umbc.edu/resources.