Multi-disciplinary groups from across The University of New Mexico are working together to improve UNM’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
In 2018, UNM received a grant through the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The 3-year, $300,000 grant, known as the Campus Grant, focuses on creating connections between campuses, local law enforcement and victim advocacy organizations.
“It is a victim-centered, trauma-informed grant that really focuses on victim experience,” explained Naima Tokunow, project coordinator for the grant. “We’re really excited to have this grant and continue building off the work our previous DOJ agreement put in place – especially along the lines of prevention education and community collaboration.”
The institutional grant, facilitated by the UNM Women’s Resource Center, started by initiating the Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT). The cross-department and cross-community working group focuses on prevention education, victim services, student conduct and engaging men and masculine people. It also has a group that focuses specifically on the UNM Health Sciences Center and their professional schools.
“Those working groups have between ten and 20 members, and we have representation from basically every student-serving department as well as academic and advocacy groups, University Counsel, Title IX and student conduct offices,” Tokunow said. “In all, we have probably about 60 individual members. It’s built on a community, grassroots model.”
Trainings, Programs and Campaigns
Bystander Intervention Virtual Training
CCRT is launching and marketing several campaigns and initiatives. One of the biggest is “U Got This!” – an online, free, voluntary bystander intervention training, available to all UNM students, student employee advisors and managers.
The training uses humor, real-life scenarios and interactive components to teach proper bystander intervention.
“It requires students to make choices, answers questions and give examples throughout the hourlong training,” Tokunow said. “We’re partnering with groups across campus to get the word out about it and already have a whole bunch of folks signed up to take it. All the incoming student athletes, Resident Advisors, ASUNM E-board, SUB Student employees and AASS are all taking it – some individuals have signed up as well.”
The training is ongoing throughout the fall. Departments interested in having their student employees take the free training, or students interested in signing up, can do so by emailing email@example.com.
Cyber Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month but is also Cyber Security Month. To acknowledge both themes, the CCRT launched a cyber sexual assault series and is hosting a corresponding roundtable. The three-part cyber series looks at cyber sexual abuse, what it is and how it fits within the idea of domestic violence.
“We’re in the middle of a global pandemic where people are doing everything virtually, which includes dating, relationships and intimacy,” Tokunow explained. “So, we are posting about what cyber sexual assault is and the laws that protect people in New Mexico. The series is going to be shared across different social media platforms through our partnerships.”
The series uses #StopTheSpread to also address how to be an active bystander red flags in relationships, harm reduction and protection, and victim resources. In addition, the team is scheduling a webinar focused on male and non-binary victim experience. Details are forthcoming and will be posted on the CCRT Website.
Engaging Men and Masculine People Narrative Project
This project, which will be rolled out this month for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, highlights stories and reflections from students, staff and faculty either sharing a personal anecdote or message of support that addresses what it means to be an engaged bystander, along with resources.
Domestic Violence Resource Center Training for UNMPD
This project, slated to roll out next month, introduces trauma-informed, victim-centered training for the UNM campus' law enforcement officials. It brings together leading domestic violence educators from the Domestic Violence Resource Center, a vital community resource and UNMPD to discuss the neurobiology of trauma and best practices for serving survivors of domestic violence, along with self-care tips for officers handling particularly difficult cases.