Student Seminars Promote Healthy Relationships


By Noah Winthrop, Staff Writer

The Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC) hosted a pair of hour-long Healthy Relationship seminars on Wednesday, Oct. 4 and Thursday, Oct. 5. as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The seminars were part of the overall effort to increase awareness of sexual abuse, in order to get students thinking about how they can solve these problems. These events were designed to be welcoming and accessible for students of all sexual orientations.

The seminar on Oct. 5 was presented in SUB 1 by Nichole Nicholas of SSAC.

“This topic is very important on campus,” she said. “It’s been requested by many students and faculty.”

Nicholas explained that healthy relationships require equality, balance, respect, and tenacity from both partners. Students must be able to set boundaries with clarity, and if the partner doesn’t respect them, then they need to end the relationship to avoid falling into a cycle of abuse.

The presentation was conducted with the aid of PowerPoint and video, followed by Q&A activities that required audience participation.

The material was especially sobering, such as when the audience learned that one in five women are sexually assaulted in the college environment, or that one in three students report dating violence by a previous partner. This led to a lively discussion between students based around their personal experiences and how they related to these statistics.

The discussions explained the abuse that individuals have suffered in the past, making the information clear and personal to the audience. Participants expressed genuine candor when sharing their stories, and people were open shared their ideal characteristics in romantic partners. This direct and conversational approach benefitted everyone because they were able to learn from multiple perspectives.

Nicholas added that a lot of Mason students don’t know about resources on campus. Students should be aware of the multiple departments and offices that they can turn to in emergencies, including the SSAC, Counseling & Psychological Services, and Department for Compliance, Diversity, & Ethics. These services provide students with the information and guidance necessary to escape abuse so they can continue their lives in the Mason community.

Photo Courtesy of Student Support Center