USD’s ICARE, a campus sexual assault prevention group, is hosting “Because I Love You,” an event to discuss healthy relationships. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 26 in the Muenster University Center (MUC) pit at 4:30 p.m.
The event is part of Healthy Relationships Month, the organization’s spin on Domestic Violence Awareness Month. ICARE has chosen to rebrand the topic in order to approach it from the angle of not only helping students to identify signs of unhealthy or abusive relationships, but also helping them to understand the signs of healthy relationships.
Jordan Bonstrom, the interim coordinator at ICARE, said the event is put together by the One Love Foundation, a national organization, and facilitated on campus by ICARE. The event is designed to talk about four different ways students can help intervene when they see signs of an unhealthy relationship.
“It’s really just an interactive discussion-based program where we talk about the examples that we’ve seen, and really figure out, you know, what are things that are healthy or unhealthy?” Bonstrom said.
Bonstrom said the challenges of putting together the event were getting buy-in and making sure that students would be comfortable talking about a sensitive topic like domestic violence.
“Domestic violence isn’t necessarily a very exciting topic that people necessarily want to come and talk about,” Bonstrom said.
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“Really trying to frame it as, like, let’s focus on what’s healthy and how this is really practical to your life.”
Bonstrom said having students back on campus this semester has made it easier to host events like these and get student engagement.
“Last year with ICARE, we hosted a few events, but it was primarily social media presence that we were doing to try to educate students and the community,” Bonstrom said.
Students looking to get involved with ICARE can follow the organization’s Instagram and Facebook pages. Bonstrom said if students are seeing problems on campus they’d like to be addressed, they can contact him via email and set up a time to talk about it.
ICARE also works closely with PAVE (Promoting Awareness/Victim Empowerment), a student-run anti-sexual violence organization on campus, which meets once a month and organizes events on campus.
Melissa Pham, the director of PAVE, said the organization provides students and the campus community with a safe and comfortable group to be part of the conversation of advocating against sexual assault and sexual violence. Pham said students interested in the organization should contact her or attend one of the organization’s monthly meetings.
“People in both PAVE and ICARE are very welcoming, understanding, and kind,” Pham said in an email interview with The Volante. “We love to hear from the campus community.”
Bonstrom said plans for the following months include discussions on men and masculinity in November, with a possible but undetermined event. The organization’s plans for the spring semester include providing resources to prepare students for spring break and the return of Denim Day in April, where students are asked to wear denim to combat victim blaming.
“There is a lot of support out there for students here on campus, and you can get a full list of our resources, both reporting resources and also confidential resources, at usd.edu/ICARE,” Bonstrom said. “This event will be a really interactive and engaging time for students to really explore more about what makes a healthy relationship.”