UB program educates on bystander intervention and sexual violence 

Abbey Whittington, Entertainment Editor

University Board and the Health Education Resource Center will be hosting a program called “Students Fight Back” to inform students of bystander intervention and sexual violence Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union’s Grand Ballroom.

The program will educate students on bystander intervention, how to support a victim, how to be an ally, defines consent and gives safety tips.

Melany Zwilling, sexual health education coordinator for HERC, defined a bystander as someone who would be willing to step up and help individuals in need whether it’s calling 911 or talking directly to a friend in need during a non-emergency.

“Stepping up at EIU is a responsibility all students, faculty and staff should take in order to keep our campus safe,” Zwilling said.

Before the seminar starts, the HERC will be talking about the “It’s On Us” campaign, along with a table outside of the Grand Ballroom with additional resources and presentations about the campaign.

This is the first time UB and HERC have hosted the program, which was founded by Eastern alum, Erin Weed, after her sorority sister Shannon McNamara was murdered in June 2001.

After McNamara’s death, Weed realized that there was a need for more empowering options for young women to learn violence prevention and self-defense.

After seeing the fight her sorority sister put up, Weed decided to train herself in self-defense and violence prevention and created the Girls Fight Back seminar.

Emily Brodt, the UB Ideas and Issues Coordinator, said that the program will teach students how to combat sexual violence through education.

“This will help make the community safer by educating and making students aware of these issues and how to deal with them in their lives,” Brodt said.

The seminar will be an hour and 15 minutes long and will be followed by a Q&A for any needed clarification about the program’s content.

Students that correctly answer questions about the seminar will be entered into a raffle to win a safer sex packet from HERC, which will include female condoms, dental dams, and lubricant. There will be two winners drawn from the raffle, and they will be contacted the next day by the HERC for their prizes.

Other giveaways will be included such as “It’s On Us” stress balls, three different T-shirts and safety key-chain lights.

The seminar has no admission fee.


Abbey Whittington can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]