Summit held to educate about partner violence

Various members of the College’s fraternities and sororities, along with the executive boards of the Inter-Greek Council (IGC) and Panhellenic Association, participated in the first-ever Greek Intimate Partner Violence Summit last weekend.

The event was organized by Jackie Deitch-Stackhouse, coordinator in the office of Anti-Violence Initiatives. Representatives from the offices of Campus Activities, Student Life, Residence Life and Campus Wellness provided additional support.

The summit of 60 students began Friday night at the Marriott Hotel in Trenton and continued until around 8 p.m. Saturday night.

Deitch-Stackhouse said that the students came out of the summit with action plans on how to prevent intimate partner violence on campus. Ideas included additional Welcome Week programming, mini-workshops for new members of Greek organizations.

Deitch-Stackhouse hopes that these plans will be actively implemented on campus.

“Our ultimate goal is to bring about some serious change on campus,” she said.

Deitch-Stackhouse said that the program was the first of its kind for the College and that it should be promoted for use at colleges throughout the nation.

During the summit, men and women were separated and guided through different exercises.

“You need to appraoch (men and women) from different angles,” Deitch-Stackhouse said.

She said that the men focused on being pro-active in preventing partner violence. They talked about male socialization and how it leads to the objectification of women.

The female students went through self-esteem exercises and learned about asserting themselves rather than the traditional idea of “acting like a lady.”

Both the male and female students performed an exercise in which they closed their eyes and were asked questions about how they feel about themselves and the opposite sex.

For example, the men were asked to raise their hands if they ever “made a comment in public about a women’s body.”

Later in the summit, they were asked similar questions, except this time with their eyes open. “Eventually everybody was more comfortable to admit things,” Deitch-Stackhouse said.

She said that an IGC task force will overview the progress of the implementation of the students’ action plans on campus.

Although Deitch-Stackhouse admitted that the summit was only a start in preventing intimate partner violence, she said that it can still pay immediate dividends. “(If someone) steps up once and people recognize it,” Deitch-Stackhouse said, “it will have a nice ripple effect.”