Published: Oct. 19, 2012

What is gender violence and how can it be prevented?

The answers to these questions are discussed in presentations by Sean Connell, the gender violence prevention and education assistant for Community Health and the Office of Victim Assistance.

Gender violence can be difficult to define, but it is generally considered a term to describe interpersonal violence that is gender based. So, what does that mean?

“It can take many forms,” said Connell, “including physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, sexual assault, intimate partner abuse, threats, harassment, and stalking.”

A new program developed by Community Health, the public health division of Wardenburg Health Center, provides presentations to get the conversation started and help students recognize gender violence and discuss ways they can help prevent it.

Connell offers programs for student groups, in classrooms, residence halls, and for department and programs on campus.

Awareness is just one part of prevention. Challenging cultural beliefs is another piece of it. The presentation uses small-group discussion and scenarios to get students to discuss some of the environmental factors that can hide gender violence in the college community and reduce the likelihood that people will recognize it and reach out to resources on and off campus.

“The ultimate goal of these presentations is to eliminate the violence,” said Connell, “but the short-term goal is to help students notice problematic actions when they occur and to empower them to step in ahead of time before an assault can take place.”

Community Health and The Office of Victim Assistance are offering presentations to students on sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner abuse. For more information or to schedule a presentation, contact Sean Connell at 303-492-5951 or

For more information on preventing gender violence, visit