Bellevue College Awarded $300,000 Grant to Help Address Sexual Violence

Image of the Bellevue College campus in fall

Bellevue College (BC) was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to help address sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. BC was one of 57 academic institutions to receive a grant under the OVW’s campus program.

The grant will help develop a framework for coordinating campus responses with community partners like LifeWire, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC), and the Bellevue Police Department. The grant will also provide more comprehensive training to BC faculty, staff and students on the best practices for prevention and bystander intervention, as well as increase awareness of what a healthy relationship is and the community resources available to assist when problems arise.

“We’re thrilled to have been awarded this grant, and fortunate to have community partners who are deeply committed to Bellevue College and our students,” said Dr. Sayumi Irey, interim vice president for diversity. “This is the culmination of an effort that began three years ago as the vision of residence halls was just getting underway, and we realized we needed to increase education and training around sexual violence and harassment as our campus continues to grow.”

LifeWire has partnered with Bellevue College for years, presenting a 90 minute “In Her Shoes” interactive session that runs scenarios on domestic violence for health classes, as well as campus trainings on bystander intervention. LifeWire offers comprehensive services for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. KCSARC provides services to survivors of sexual assault. Both nonprofits offer 24-Hour helplines, legal advocacy and mental health therapy in addition to other support services.

“KCSARC is the largest provider of services for sexual assault victims in our region,” said Mary Ellen Stone, executive director for KCSARC. “Over the past 12 months, since the inception of #me2, we have seen dramatic increases in demand for services. The prevalence of sexual assault has never been more apparent. And the importance of community leaders like Bellevue College, in speaking about sexual assault, has never been more important. KCSARC is very pleased to be a part of this partnership.”

“LifeWire is so excited to congratulate Dr. Jerry Weber and the rest of our partners at Bellevue College on the award of this grant!” said Ward Urion, social change manager for LifeWire. “It will help to deepen and expand the work that Bellevue College has been engaged in over the last several years. Campus wide coordination will leverage our partnership in exponential ways to support healthy relationships and reduce gender based violence in our community.”

“The City of Bellevue is dedicated to creating a safe, inclusive environment for everyone in our community,” said Bellevue City manager Brad Miyake. “This is a great partnership and we look forward to working with Bellevue College in putting an end to sexual violence.”

“This kind of support can make the difference between a student completing their classes and getting a degree, or dropping out,” said Title IX coordinator Rachel Wellman. “We’ve found that 90 percent of students who report incidents, stay at the college. And because of the conversations occurring around the nation, awareness and the need for support is increasing. Partnering with other agencies through this grant will allow us to expand the support network, and ultimately keep more of our students on the path to success.”

Bellevue College was the first Washington state community college to launch an Office of Equity and Pluralism in 2006, and the first to hire a full-time Title IX coordinator in 2014. “The impact of this grant for our students, faculty, and staff will be substantial,” said Bonnie Berry, director of grant development at BC. “We are also grateful to Bellevue College staff and faculty for their continuing efforts to empower our students and work with our community members through their daily interactions and teaching.”

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Last Updated October 10, 2018