Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE) is an organization on campus at USD that works together to help empower sexual violence victims and spread awareness.
PAVE was founded in Sept. 2017. PAVE president and double major in English and Psychology Taylor Hagen said PAVE was created to provide a sanctuary on campus for students to go to for resources and consent education.
PAVE is a student led organization that was inspired by I CARE, which is a faculty led organization at USD that aims to prevent campus sexual assault through advocacy and education.
Due to COVID-19, PAVE was unable to carry out their plans for the spring 2020 semester. However, Hagen said PAVE has been picking up where they left off with events planned, tabling with informative resources and themed meetings for each month.
In January, PAVE focused on National Stalking Awareness and had infographic resources available at their Zoom meeting.
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“We like to open the conversation to anybody who has anything they want to say about it. When it comes to regard of like, how would you, as people on campus, want to see resources handed out, and handled by the university and by us,” Hagen said.
Currently, PAVE has been focusing on men and LGBTQ+ engagement for the month of February.
“We want to have more inclusivity with men, LGBTQ+ and anyone else because it’s not just a woman’s issue,” Hagen said.
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In March, PAVE will be doing spring break safety focusing on alcohol education and what consent is.
“We like to do our ‘Consent Is’ project that has words of what consent means to different people,” Hagen said. “It can be ‘your consent is sexy’, ‘consent is ongoing’, ‘consent is needed.’”
Sexual Assault Awareness month is in April and PAVE plans to educate people through their social media accounts due to COVID-19. PAVE also plans to have self-defense and de-stress yoga classes available through the Wellness Center.
“When it comes to sexual assault, awareness is just keeping the conversation alive so that it’s normalized and people don’t feel so alone and hiding behind the silence,” Hagen said.
Junior vice president of PAVE and elementary education major Clare Lorenzen said PAVE will be doing a Denim Day on April 28 where people can write and draw their stories on denim clothing.
Denim Day signifies people being able to wear what they want and showing that the certain clothes someone has on doesn’t determine that they “must’ve wanted it,” Hagen said.
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“PAVE is for everybody. Everybody’s activism is their own way of activism,” Lorenzen said. “The minute you walk through, whether it’s virtual doors of a Zoom meeting or the real doors of a meeting you become part of the family.”
Students can get involved by reposting stories and reading resources posted by PAVE’s social media accounts, particularly their Instagram.
Due to COVID-19, PAVE holds their meetings every first Thursday of the month via Zoom at 8 p.m. Those interested in getting involved can message PAVE via Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/pave_usd_/or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PAVEUSD/ for the Zoom link.