a flyer saying "You can make a difference"

Whether you want to be a PACTivist, a peer advocate or a peer educator, you can make a huge difference in preventing gender-based violence.

Have you ever had a time when you’re really pumped to talk about something, but no one even knows what you’re talking about? For you, it might be your favorite TV show or a good book you’ve just read. For me, my current passion is the RE Initiative. It appears that despite having a successful PSA on WSU’s homepage, as well as a very well thought out and informative blog post on gender-based violence, few students know about the RE Initiative.

At least, this was is the feeling I get because I recently started working for the RE Initiative and every time I told someone about my “totally new and exciting” job, they would simply ask “What is the RE Initiative?” And I guess that is the million dollar question–but I am tired of answering it. So I’m taking the opportunity of exposure that the Internet provides to briefly inform you about what the RE Initiative is, why you should care and how you can get involved.

Overall, the RE Initiative has high hopes of achieving an array of goals by the end of this second semester, but for the sake of time I’ll sum up the organization’s objectives into four major points:

  1. Reduce the amount of gender-based violence and help its victims
  2. Educate the campus on consent and GBV
  3. Create a safe community where people help one another
  4. Certify as many people as possible as active bystanders

No one can argue against protecting people from physical and sexual violence. Helping and respecting others is simply the right thing to do. Not only do you personally benefit from a safer campus environment, but so do all your friends and the people in your classes, and your professors and other WSU staff members.

With such noble and ambitious cause, the RE Initiative needs lots of help to reach out to the entire campus, and this is where you come in. You can make a huge difference in cutting down the number of gender-based violence occurrences on campus for as much or as little commitment as you like. I decided to really devote my time so I am going through training and a semester long course to become a certified peer educator and peer advocate. If you’re really interested in getting involved with GBV prevention, you should apply for a part-time position over at Warrior Jobs.

Even if you don’t have the room in your schedule to be fully trained advocate, or just want something with a little less commitment, you can still help in a really important way. By just attending a two and a half hour training session you can become a certified PACTivist. PACT stands for Prevent, Act, Challenge and Teach, and represents the core steps to ending gender-based violence. The training is fun and engaging, but also intense. The peer educators are incredibly talented. They challenge you to look at a bigger picture and appreciate what it is you have while realizing how big of a difference you can make. This is done through a variety of participation activities. I won’t give too much away, but I will say that these activities are serious and humbling. By the end of the training you’ll not only be glad you attended, but you’ll also want to go out and change the world with your new-found knowledge and insight.

PACTivist training sessions will be held every Tuesday at 6pm throughout February. The exact location is still being determined, and will be announced at a later date. I know that two and a half hours may seem like a lot, especially on a week night, but stopping gender-based violence is crucial and this is how it starts. With one person. Every day women and men of every race, age and sexuality are suffering themselves or from the larger effects of gender-based violence. The harder we work at creating a healthy and safe community, the better chance we have of really helping those in need.

I hope after reading this you consider popping into a PACTivist training session. The world needs more people to step in and help one another, why not be one yourself?

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Hannah Carmack

Hannah attended WSU as an English major and Women Gender & Sexuality Studies minor before transferring to another institution closer to her hometown of Roscoe, IL. When not devoting time to her education, Hannah is often writing, reading, playing video games or cooking.

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