An escalation workshop created by the One Love Foundation. Photo courtesy of One Love Foundation website.
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The Butler University Office of Health Education and Outreach has been putting on seminars called “The Escalation Workshop,” to discuss sexual assault and relationship violence.
The workshop is created by One Love, a foundation whose goal is to educate young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships. It consists of a video about relationships and then a discussion between the facilitators and the students.
So far, the workshop has been focused on talking to each of Butler’s varsity sports teams, but in the future they hope to expand to different student groups like greek organizations, clubs and perhaps eventually the program will become a requirement for all first-year students.
Julia Bartusek, a sophomore peace and conflict studies and human communication major, is one of the student facilitators that work to put on the workshops. She said the group is looking to target all corners of the student population.
“The main focus this year was athletic teams, not because they are a problem, just because we are trying to get all across campus so every year we hone in on a specific group of people,” she said.
Bartusek said that her position of Vice President of Philanthropy for Alpha Chi Omega—whose philanthropy is domestic violence awareness—opened the door for her to become a facilitator.
“It is something that I am really passionate about,” Bartusek said. “People need to be open to being educated about the topic because it is so applicable because our entire lives are based on relationships, and knowing what makes a healthy one. Whether it is in your own life or in your friend’s life or in a romantic relationship or family relationship, it is really important to realize how important that is.”
Bartusek is one of a group of student facilitators who were trained to lead the workshops by officials from the One Love foundation. Their role is to lead the discussion portion of the workshop.
“Our main role is to ask the right questions, and then also provide learning points for people to take away and and also make it really approachable,” she said. “We try to make it so that isn’t over anyone’s head or too emotional for anyone because it is a really heavy topic”
Emma Ahlert, a junior arts administration major, is another facilitator.
“I really enjoy it and it feels like I am making a tangible contribution to campus,” Ahlert said. “They’re not always easy conversations to have, but they are really important.”
Students who are a part of the workshop watch the video portion about a relationship that starts out happy and healthy and slowly escalates into violence and abuse. The discussion afterward is focused on how the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship can be spotted so that intervention can take place.
Aviv Ben Shabat is a junior management information science major and is a player on Butler men’s tennis team. He said that the workshop is important for all students to learn from.
“I think it is helpful, and obviously sexual assault [and relationship violence] is a big thing,” Ben Shabat said. “And you know talking about it is helpful because [people] should know what they are allowed to do and not allowed to do.”
Evan Johnson is a sophomore psychology major and a runner on the men’s track team. He said the talks are beneficial because they cover a wider range of topics than some other educational programs that are available to students.
“I definitely learned a few new things,” Johnson said. “I’ve learned about some of that kind of stuff in health class in high school, but I think having it more focused on relationship violence and getting consent, I think that it was very helpful and educational to everyone at the talk.”
Ahlert said the students she has spoken to so far have been receptive and have encouraged her to continue to facilitate the talks.
“A couple times I have had people come up to me afterwards and say, ‘Thank you for doing this,’” Ahlert said. “It can be hard because you know that [the audience] is there because it is mandatory, but having people come up to me after and saying that I made an impact on their life feels like I am making a difference.”
Bartusek said the workshops have been exciting to lead because she feels she is making an impact on the Butler community.
“I really enjoy it because I am really passionate about it and also it is a great way to get involved and really feel like you are making a difference because you can see the difference in the room from when you first start the conversation and when you leave and that makes you feel really good about the world,” Bartusek said.
The next workshops will be scheduled whenever the remaining teams that have not completed the program are free from travel and practice.