Butler’s Sexual Assault Response and Prevention office launches new podcast. Photo courtesy of SARP.
DAVID CLARK | STAFF REPORTER | email@example.com
Butler University’s Sexual Assault Response and Prevention office — also known as SARP — is hitting the airwaves.
The SARP office released the first episode of their new podcast, “Actually Love,” on Feb. 1. The podcast hopes to present and discuss topics to create healthier relationships and sexual experiences in the Butler community. With some of the current difficulties in connecting with students during a pandemic, the SARP office decided a podcast might be a way to bridge that gap.
Jules Arthur-Grable, the SARP specialist at Butler, considered several different options before landing on the idea of a podcast.
“We were looking for different ways to engage with students,” Arthur-Grable said, who also hosts the podcast. “The benefit of the podcast is that we can reach students when they want to hear the message.”
Arthur-Grable chose the podcast’s title as an homage to the fan-favorite romantic comedy, “Love Actually.” Episodes of “Actually Love” will be released on Mondays every two weeks.
Natalie Szocs, assistant director of fitness and marketing, also consulted with Arthur-Grable to get this podcast off the ground. Szocs had some prior experience creating the BUBeWell podcast, which started production over 18 months ago.
“One of the biggest pieces of advice I gave [Arthur-Grable] was getting students to be involved,” Szocs said. “You want to generate content that they are actually interested in. Then you need students to help you develop the podcast.”
Over time, podcast episodes will cover a variety of topics including relationship violence, how to help a friend and consent — the topic of the first episode, “Sexy Can I? Consent Basics.”
Maria Kanger, Butler’s Title IX coordinator, also consulted in an advisory role on Arthur-Grable’s development of the podcast. Kanger stressed how her work is dedicated to creating a norm for healthy relationships on campus and empowering others to prevent harm when they see it.
“I think this podcast is really a great vehicle for that,” Kanger said. “Provide that education, and to help achieve that ultimate goal of having that kind of culture here at Butler.”
Both Szocs and Arthur-Grable said they believe “Actually Love” will be a welcome addition to the SARP office’s regular programming. They are hopeful more students will interact with their content because it allows students to engage privately in the comfort of their own spaces.
Kylie Firestine, a junior criminology and race, gender and sexuality studies double major, agreed. She sees individual consumption of the podcast fostering deeper meaning for students.
“With it just being the words and you don’t have a picture given to you, I think that allows for your imagination to go crazy,” Firestine said.
Firestine was most excited about the frank but conversational language Arthur-Grable uses throughout the podcast. During her time as a student facilitator for consent workshops, Firestine has tried to implement some of these very techniques.
She also emphasized that everyone’s path toward healing is unique. She said the podcast will most benefit those who have already dealt with previous trauma, and that the podcast may not be for everyone.
Serious topics like gaslighting and relationship violence are not easy to navigate, even for the most experienced podcast host. Arthur-Grable knew this would be a major barrier and did not want to upset students with an insensitive approach. So, Arthur-Grable has purposefully tried to relieve the emotional impact on listeners.
“We wrap up with a meditation or breathing exercise,” Arthur-Grable said. “It’s really important to practice that self-care to get yourself back into the moment and back into the rest of your day.”
At times, the podcast will present some topics through connections to pop culture and current events. Arthur-Grable indicated an upcoming episode will be based in the Harry Potter series.
Arthur-Grable encouraged students to reach out to the SARP office on Twitter or Instagram with topics they want to see covered on the podcast. Viewers can stream episodes of “Actually Love” on Spotify and Spreaker.