WSU Receives Grant to Understand, Help LGBTQ+ Students
OGDEN, Utah – Safe@Weber is more than a slogan at Weber State University.
The Safe@Weber Violence Prevention Team in the Women’s Center is using a Utah Department of Health grant to help address specific needs of LGBTQ+ students. The team currently is conducting research that will be used to create a customized LGBTQ+ workshop curriculum to help ensure students are able to learn in an environment free from violence or discrimination.
“A curriculum like this is necessary because members of the LGBTQ community are often alienated by these curriculums, in the sense that concepts around sexual assault and bystander intervention have aspects that are often exclusive to LGBTQ individuals, and no one is bringing them up,” said Porter Lunceford, violence prevention intern. “We’re working to make that difference and address these issues that so few have attempted to address, despite an obvious need for intervention.”
The Safe@Weber team also will administer Photovoice, a project to capture photo and video images that illustrate feelings, fears and experiences of LGBTQ+ students. Photovoice is a research method that allows individuals to collect images as symbolic evidence of the world they see and experience. Students interested in participating in Photovoice are invited to meet Jan. 11 from 3-5 p.m. in Shepherd Union Room 321.
Research shows that LGBTQ individuals in the United States experience particularly high rates of sexual violence. A 2015 survey by the Association of American Universities found that “rates of sexual assault and misconduct are highest among undergraduate females and those identifying as transgender, genderqueer, non-conforming, questioning.”
Although some violence prevention programs have been altered to try to include LGBTQ+ communities, there is no national curriculum that targets best practices specific to that community.
The Health Department grant will allow WSU to develop a comprehensive primary prevention curriculum workshop that teaches LGBTQ college students, ages 18-24, healthy ways to “Navigate Consent and LGBTQ Sexual Relationships” and “Bystander Intervention Skills to Prevent Sexual, Partner, LGBTQ Hate Crime and Systems-Based Violence.”
In order to create meaningful curriculum, the team is conducting extensive research in collaboration with the OUTreach Resource Centers, WSU’s LGBT Resource Center and the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault. An online survey, which is being conducted now through Jan. 13, 2017, will identify the deficits in violence prevention training, concerns about consent and sexual communication, LGBTQ-specific issues within relationships and barriers to bystander intervention. A second survey will allow participants to select the images from Photovoice that will be used to enhance the new curriculum.
“This project will help our state be better equipped to prevent violence against LGBTQ+ community members. Join Safe@Weber today to help expand the perspective and development of Utah’s violence prevention efforts,” said Stephanie McClure, Women’s Center director.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.