“When darkness is at its darkest, a star shines the brightest.” –Louise Philippe
Students Talking About Relationships & Sex (S.T.A.R.S.) is a peer education prevention program that utilizes interactive theater and dialogue to transform individual behaviors and create positive social change. STARS educates students on sexual assault, relationship abuse and bystander intervention, and empowers peer educators to become advocates for a safe, healthy, and inclusive CSUSM community. Through S.T.A.R.S the idea that sexual assault and intimate partner violence (aka Domestic Violence, relationship abuse) are private matters is challenged and students are bringing the issues to the forefront as societal problems that need to be addressed.
During a recent presentation on Intimate Partner Violence students within the class discussed openly their views of privilege and grappled with the idea that violence towards women was becoming a normal part of women’s lives and experiences.
We often treat Intimate Partner Abuse as a private matter rather than thrust into the public sphere and address it within our broader culture. It is through treating this issue as a private matter that people in these situations do not know what resources are out there for them or cannot access the resources they need. This is why we often ask why do people stay in abusive relationship and victim blame those that try to seek resources. Rather than calling out abusers and discussing their behaviors we often treat the victim as if it is their fault, that they deserved the abuse that they endured.
I think it is time for us to re-think the way we view these two issues, time to discuss them openly in public, time for us to intervene and use education as a tool to ensure that the prevention of unhealthy relationships is a high priority for students everywhere. It is time to say that violence is not normal and time to end victim blaming by talking with all genders about violence prevention. This is what the S.T.A.R.S. program provides students.
S.T.A.R.S. gives students with the opportunity to empower themselves through intervention training and peer education. The program allows students to open up and use education as a tool to become a light when their peers may feel as if all hope is lost.
- 60 percent of Americans know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.
- 73 percent of parents with children under the age of 18 said that they have not had a conversation about domestic violence or sexual assault with their children.
- 67 percent of Americans say they have not talked about domestic violence with their friends, and 73 percent have not discussed sexual assault.
- 80 percent believe domestic violence is a problem in our society, but only 15 percent think it is a problem among their friends.
- 75 percent of Americans say they would step in and help if they saw even a stranger being abused, but in reality, most people do not help.
To help us bring these issues to the forefront or to discuss how to intervene safely email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are saying “No More” to Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault.
“When you live in a city with no stars to wish on, you have to wish on each other.”- Francesca Lia Block