Project Safe

It is well known that college campuses are not always the safest places for individuals, especially due to the understood prevalence of sexual violence that takes place at many universities. Vanderbilt University has implemented the Project Safe Center to prevent these types of violence on campus and to assist victims who have been affected by this violence, whether it be sexual violence, stalking, or even intimate partner violence.

The Project Safe Center has previously only been an office for the past 15 years in the Women’s Center but is now its own center. It is run by Cara Tuttle Bell who is the director of the Project Safe Center and Wanda Swan who is the prevention educator and victim resource specialist, along with the aid of three other staff members.

This center does whatever it can for students at the university. They have a twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year hotline, which is anonymous. They have the ability to issue a no contact order for a victim anytime they want, not just for the issue of sexual violence. It deals with harassment or after the fact retaliation. This kind of power and order is very effective for victims, where it has punishments for the offender with the possibility of being suspended. It also helps students carve their own path when they are ready and helps them navigate difficult situations whatever they may be. It provides them with a feeling of empowerment.

This center truly wants their students to be safe and it provides them with on and off campus resources, where it has many connections to agencies in the community that can provide specialized skill sets needed for certain students.

Although this center does private research, it is not confidential as it complies with the Clearly Act and Title IX. It must report the number of sexual assaults on campus but does not give names where it is anonymous. Where Title IX is considered and taken into account when deciding to go under investigations or participate in the campus process.

This center is a growing program that has been overwhelmed with the requests of the many different programs they are implementing and how fast it is growing. They continue to expand as they have start over 100 programs in as little as two months. The Project Safe center has taken on so many programs and used them for the safety of the students is because they are very passionate about their subject and want to do whatever they can to prevent power-based personal violence.

Their most well known program is the green dot program. This is a prevention program with the stress on standing up and not standing by. The idea is to do it, rather than thinking about doing it. It is important to teach that bystanders have roles to play and project safes provides them with a way to safely and appropriately intervene. This intervention training can be very beneficial for any college student and should be taken advantage of in a serious manner. A basic education program such as this has the potential to equip community members to integrate methods of prevention in their every day lives and relationships.

Along with green dots, there are other prevention educations such as a consent program titled DTF. This discusses the gray areas of consent and covers the continuum from holding hands to consensual sex.

PETSA is another program that introduces different terms, procedures, and laws. This certain program is now mandatory for all incoming students to take, which is able to give these new students a sense of sexual violence and what it entails. PETSA is an informational module that educates the campus community about the violence that occurs on campus.

Another essential program is the R.A.D self defense class, which provides realistic defense techniques both hands on and informational learning taught by certified instructors. This class makes the effort to inform women with different ways to protect themselves and allows them to be better informed about situations of rape or abuse.

This program really does a good job in making an effort to protect college students against the violence that inevitably takes place on college campuses. As discussed in class previously, 1 in 5 women are likely to be assaulted in their lifetime. This center makes a great connection between all of the sexual violence and assault we have discussed in class. This is a great tool and resource for students to use when dealing with sexual assault. Not only does it provide assistance going through the traumatic process of navigating a path after violence, but it also has great preventative programs that could be useful to any student.


As students on a college campus do you feel like a center like the Project Safe Center could be very beneficial for you? Would you take advantage of this center? Would you take a class such as R.A.D. to better protect yourself from potential violence?


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