Elon Empowers campaign promotes prevention of sexual violence

Elon's Gender & LGBTQIA Center will partner with more than 25 campus organizations throughout the month of October to promote sexual violence prevention.

This month the Gender & LGBTQIA Center will engage the Elon campus in an important conversation about sexual violence prevention through a new social media campaign, Elon Empowers.

The campaign aims to unite the campus community around a culture of sexual violence prevention and reframe the way students think about sexual violence. Throughout the month of October, the GLC and dozens of partner organizations from across campus will share stories and posts on Instagram to teach students about how to prevent sexual violence.

“We have a lot of really great resources in order to help with sexual violence prevention,” said Angela Myers ’21, the professional writing and rhetoric major leading the campaign. “It is an issue that affects Elon students, and it can limit students’ abilities both inside and outside the classroom if they don’t feel completely safe because of sexual violence.”

The Elon Empowers campaign was born out of Myers’ Honors Fellow and Lumen Prize research on sexual violence prevention and the materials used to address it at Elon and on college campuses across the country. The rhetorical analysis focused on the language used in sexual violence prevention courses and materials and ways to improve it. In her research, Myers found that messaging was often negative and made it seem as though prevention isn’t possible, rather than empowering students to take an active approach toward preventing sexual violence.

“The idea behind this campaign and also the research I’ve done is how to create more empowering messages,” Myers said. “So, giving students ways that they can get involved and giving students ways that they can help prevent sexual violence when they see it happening.”

The Elon Empowers campaign will educate students about bystander intervention techniques, as well as tangible tactics for preventing sexual violence through four themed weeks. The first week, which began on Oct. 6, focuses on the idea that prevention is possible. In week two, students will learn tangible steps they can take in their everyday lives to prevent sexual violence. Week three will provide students with effective communication strategies, and the final week will highlight the campaign’s partner organizations along with ways students can get involved further with sexual violence prevention at Elon.

Myers and GLC staff hope Elon Empowers will inspire more programming surrounding sexual violence prevention in the future. The group also wants to make students aware of the prevention resources available to them on campus and teach them the steps they can take to protect the campus community.

“Because Elon’s values are so based around this idea of belonging and making sure everyone has a place and everyone can be engaged with learning, it’s important to mitigate factors that might get in the way of that,” she said.

The GLC is partnering with more than 25 campus organizations, including Elon Panhellenic, Catholic Campus Ministries, Leadership and Honors Fellows, Asian Pacific Student Association, and more.

Learn more about the Gender & LGBTQIA Center, which aims to create an inclusive campus community of equity, justice and academic excellence for all members of the campus community, here.