The Project Safe Center is a resource available to Vanderbilt students and is conveniently located on main campus, near Towers. Project Safe works to prevent all types of power-based personal violence through its outreach programs, such as Green Dots. It also helps students who have been affected by this form of violence and acts as a help line when students have questions or need personal support. Power-based personal violence is inclusive of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, identity-based targeting, and bullying.
After sitting down and speaking with Sirajah Raheem we were able to get a closer look at the tools offered by the center. Sirajah Raheem is a Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist at the center. Her role is to help teach students, faculty, and Vanderbilt employees about Project Safe and also act as an advocate for individuals who seek help from the center. She explained that the employees of Project Safe serve as advisors or advocates for students who are in need of help. They direct students to the necessary appointments or meetings and frequently escort students to the available centers and speak on their behalf when appropriate. Project Safe acts as a go-to for many victims. They will talk you through whatever you need help with. They even have a phone line that is manned 24/7, 616-322-SAFE (7233). The center also helps to arrange accommodations for students who have been affected by power-based personal violence so that the remainder of their time at Vanderbilt can be successful and so that they can feel safe on campus. If, for example, a victim is not comfortable going to the PCC, they can find help at Project Safe. Also, Project Safe can help facilitate things such as extensions, incomplete course status, and withdrawal.
The second role of the center is to help prevent power-based violence on campus by educating students about what that means and teaching courses to help people be active bystanders if they witness violence against another individual. The center is responsible for the implementation of the Green Dot Program on Vanderbilt’s campus, and has created extensive campaigns to spread awareness on campus. Green dot is a violence prevention strategy that calls on all students to engage in violence prevention through awareness, education, and the use of proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm, as well as reactive interventions in high-risk situations. Furthermore, the center wants to show that sex without consent is sexual assault and is a huge problem on college campuses. Recently, the center worked to require that all new students and employees to Vanderbilt participate in VUPETSA, which stands for Personal Empowerment Through Self Awareness. The online module features videos that deal with power-based personal violence and are meant to be informative and educational for individuals who are about to live in a new and challenging setting. The module is part of a multi-faceted approach to violence prevention and education on Vanderbilt’s campus.