Inter-Sorority Council hosts Wellness Week

The week consists of workshops for sorority members and the University community

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ISC's Wellness Week will include panels and discussions about sexual assault and healthy relationships. Courtesy Inter-Sorority Council

The Inter-Sorority Council kicked off a week of events Monday focusing on sexual assault awareness. ISC’s Wellness Week includes events for sorority members only each night Monday through Thursday, and an event open to the larger University Community on Sunday.

In an email to The Cavalier Daily, Zoe Denenberg, a fourth-year College student and president of the ISC, said that the ISC wants to facilitate conversations about women’s issues for their members.

“As the largest group of women on Grounds, the ISC wanted to find a way for our members to have meaningful conversations about women's issues as a community,” Denenberg said. “The topic of sexual assault is, unfortunately, highly relevant in the current political climate, and we wanted to provide a space for women to come together for open dialogue in safe environments.”     

The Monday through Thursday events will each begin with dinner at 7:45 p.m., followed by a presentation from 8 to 9 p.m.

According to Denenberg, 760 ISC women have signed up for varying Wellness Week events, and they anticipate the participation of 50 percent of ISC women.

The Sexual Assault Resource Agency led a workshop Monday evening entitled “Empathy, Objectification and Sexual Assault” at the Delta Delta Delta house, and the University Women’s Center gave Survivor Support Network Training at the Alpha Delta Pi house.

Claire Kaplan — the program director of gender violence and social change at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center — led the Survivor Support Network Training event. According to Kaplan, Survivor Support Network Trainings cover the neurobiology of trauma and its manifestations and allow participants to do group exercises to explore how they would respond to a friend who had experienced trauma.

“When you walk away from a training like this, and you have a stronger understanding of the neurobiology of how humans respond to trauma, you can apply that in a lot of different ways,” Women’s Center director Abby Palko said. 

According to Kaplan, research has shown women in sororities are at a higher risk for sexual violence.

Kaplan said she hoped attendees would feel more confident about responding to friends who have experienced sexual assault, intimate partner violence or stalking in a validating and supportive way.

Student sexual assault prevention groups One Less and One Love will host an event about Intimate Partner Violence catered by Roots at the Gamma Phi Beta house Tuesday.

“Helping people have an understanding of what really is a red flag in a relationship, and what constitutes abuse and violence is what we hope everyone can take away from the presentation,” said Tallulah Tepper, a fourth-year College student and president of Team One Love at the University.

One Less and One Love will be combining their separate presentations to form an interactive workshop about consent, unhealthy relationships and the Title IX reporting process.

The Title IX Office — a subsection of the University’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights — will present “Breaking Down Title IX” at Sigma Kappa Wednesday.

Sustained Dialogue will lead “How to Have Better Dialogues: Listening, Affirming, and Taking Action” at Kappa Delta Thursday. 

The week will culminate with “Rolling Stone Wasn’t the Beginning: A History of Sexual Violence and Rape at the University of Virginia” 4 p.m. Sunday in Old Cabell Hall, co-hosted by the University Guide Service and open to the University community.

“The presentation will follow history of sexual violence and rape at UVA from the school’s opening up until the publication of and response to the Rolling Stone article,” Mary Boyd Crosier, president of the University Guide Service and a fourth-year Engineering student, said in an email statement.

In 2014, Rolling Stone magazine published “A Rape on Campus,” an article by Sabrina Erdely which detailed an alleged brutal gang rape of a University student named “Jackie” at the Phi Kappa Psi house on Rugby Road. The story was retracted a few months later after substantial discrepancies were found in the article, leading many to believe the allegations had been fabricated. A Charlottesville Police investigation concluded there was no credible evidence to back up Jackie’s claims.

Crosier said the presentation will cover specific instances of both rape and advocacy for prevention of sexual assault.

In previous years, Wellness Week has not focussed on a specific issue. According to Denenberg, this year all presentations will be surrounding the issue of sexual assault.

“When an organization gets this kind of training, individuals can respond in a supportive way, but also an organization will be able to respond more appropriately and be able to support their members,” Kaplan said.

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