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Women’s Center receives award from Crime Victims’ Council

A contingent of Lehigh men strap on high heels as they prepare to participate in the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event sponsored by Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc.

The Crime Victims’ Council of the Lehigh Valley (CVC) recently recognized Lehigh’s Women’s Center for its Red Flag Campaign to raise awareness on campus about intimate partner violence prevention.

Each year, the CVC presents Allied Professional Awards to individuals and groups for showing outstanding commitment to crime victims in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

“It is important to recognize the impact that so many various professionals have on the lives of crime victims in our community, and to honor those individuals who treat victims of crime with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said CVC executive director Suzanne M. Beck.

The Red Flag Campaign encouraged members of the campus community to say something when they see warning signs, or “red flags,” of intimate partner violence in a friend’s relationship.  

Rita Jones, director of the Women’s Center, said the award culminated years’ worth of an evolving collaboration between the center and the CVC.  

“This award means a great deal to the Women’s Center and to Lehigh,” Jones said. “In terms of student development goals, we want to try to help students make sense of complex issues both in the context of Lehigh and other communities from which they came, and into which they will go.”

Jones said Brooke DeSipio, assistant director of the Women’s Center, was integral to the center’s success in this arena. DeSipio leads sexual violence prevention efforts and advises the Break the Silence group of gender violence prevention peer educators.

The strong and positive relationship that DiSipio has fostered with the CVC, said Jones, has helped students learn how they can continue their work beyond Lehigh.

Lehigh’s Women’s Center was established in 1991 and has grown to include an expanded staff and volunteers, who organize a series of events and programs to raise awareness about gender identity for men and women. Among the most popular programs are Healthy Body Image and V-Day events—including a staging of the play The Vagina Monologues.

Another popular event, the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, is led by Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc. The goal of the international men’s march is to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence.

Story by Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2014

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