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Today's word on journalism

Monday, November 5, 2007

On Objectivity:

"I still insist that 'objective journalism' is a contradiction in terms. But I want to draw a very hard line between the inevitable reality of 'subjective journalism' and the idea that any honestly subjective journalist might feel free to estimate a crowd at a rally for some candidates the journalist happens to like personally at 2,000 instead of 612 -- or to imply that a candidate the journalist views with gross contempt, personally, is a less effective campaigner than he actually is."

-- Hunter S. Thompson, from Fear & Loathing: CORRECTIONS, RETRACTIONS, APOLOGIES, COP-OUTS, ETC., a 1972 memo to Rolling Stone editor Jann S. Wenner, excerpted in the current (November 2007) issue of Harper’s Magazine (Thanks to alert WORDster Andy Merton)

SAAVI aims to help people get more savvy about preventing domestic violence

By Jessica Wakley

October 18, 2007 | USU's Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information (SAAVI) is a program that serves students, faculty, staff, primary and secondary survivors, male or female. SAAVI aims to create a violence free environment on campus. Prevention programs and events have been developed to help men and women develop healthy relationships.

This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Rachel Brighton, the SAAVI coordinator has been busy preparing for events and increasing awareness.

The SAAVI program kicked off the month by helping the Women's Center with their Clothesline Project that was held on Oct. 1 - 3 at the TSC. For this project female victims drew on shirts to express their feelings. The shirts were then hung on clotheslines for students to read.

"This program gives victims a voice and a chance to state how they feel," Brighton said.

Kathy Teeter, staff assistant for the USU Wellness Center, visited the Clothesline Project. She explained the area as overpowering. "Every year this project is amazing but this year was one of the best," Teeter said. Everyone became quiet and serious when they got to this display. Students who were joking around when they walked in the building became silent.

The Clothesline Project is a national project that gives a voice back to female victims. They have a chance to talk about their experience and to heal. According to Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, it is estimated that over 80 percent of women who are sexually assaulted do not report due to humiliation or fear of re-victimization in the legal process. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, statistics on sexual violence are biased by underreporting due to victims' embarrassment, shame and fear, feelings of discomfort and mistrust of officials.

This semester Brighton has help from Devin Harmon, an intern for the SAAVI program. Brighton and Harmon are increasing awareness by participating in a nationwide campaign to hand out cards with statistics and other information. Harmon said last year 500 of these cards were handed out and this year they plan to hand out 700.

Harmon's main goal as an intern is to increase awareness of acquaintance rape. She said most people have the perception that a stranger will be the one to rape them when most likely it will be someone they know such as a boyfriend or a classmate. According to Greta Glielmi and Bethaney Long for the interpreting resources website, "Acquaintance rape makes up for 80 percent of all rape."

Often we are more worried about strangers but we need to be more careful about people we know or are just getting to know, Brighton said. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "In eight out of 10 rape cases, the victim knows the perpetrator." According to the website, "More than 40 percent of rapes and sexual assault came at the hands of a person the female victim called a friend or an acquaintance."

SAAVI also offers prevention programs such as RAD (Rape Aggression Defense), a self-defense class and the One-In-Four program for men. The ultimate goal Brighton hopes to accomplish with SAAVI and these programs is to change attitudes and social norms on campus.

"Attitudes are seeds of action," Brighton said.

The RAD self-defense class is only offered to women and is taught by Brighton. The class teaches women basic skills to stun an attacker and then run away, Brighton said. They are taught to avoid situations by always being aware of their surroundings and thinking smart. The final in the class is a simulation where women are given the chance to put their newly learned skills to the test. They are attacked by trained professionals who are covered in protective gear from head to toe. The women are put in real life scenarios and use their skills to escape.

There are RAD classes all over the nation and begin with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance, and basic hands on defense training. According to the RAD Systems website, the objective of this course is to "develop and enhance the options of self-defense, so they may become viable considerations to the woman who is attacked."

The program teaches mostly women, Brighton said, but men can also be victims of violence. She has tried to change the focus by creating the One-In-Four program. This program was created to give men a chance to speak out against violence. It is a group for men designed to educate them about rape and what they can do to end the cycle of violence.

We have a lot of great men on campus and we want to give them a voice, Brighton said. The solution to violence is all of our responsibility and men should be allies. Men and women need to work together to find a solution. According to the website "Every 90 seconds, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted."

It is critical to educate men about sexual violence, said Brighton. Most victims are women and they will need a friend to talk to. In many cases the friend they seek out will be a male. By being educated these men will know what to do. They can help them heal, connect them to further resources and potentially become the solution.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this is when the One-In-Four program participates in Walk-a-Mile-in-Her-Shoes. According to the SAAVI website, it gives USU men the opportunity to walk a mile in high heels while taking a stand against sexual violence and raise money.

There are expectations in our society for men to be "the bad boy," Brighton said. Our hope is to change these views. Most violence is perpetrated by men but most men are not violent.

Both males and females should learn to guard against potential attackers. The world should not be perceived as a scary place but proper precautions should be taken. Glielmi and Long for the interpreting resources website said, by being aware of one's surroundings one will be less likely to become a victim. By noticing a potentially dangerous situation one can avoid it before it happens.

According to, here are some ways to protect yourself from sexual violence. Always walk with confidence, this will make you appear stronger. Trust your instincts and don't walk alone. Park in well-lit areas and always lock your car. Keep your car in good shape so you don't have to worry about it breaking down and always have a cell phone with you.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, sexual violence can have harmful and lasting consequences for victims, families and communities. SAAVI is doing their part to help lower the risk of violence and offer services that are educational, create awareness and assist in a crisis.



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