Take Back the Night remarks by Bindu Jayne, Title IX Coordinator
My name is Bindu Jayne, and I serve as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Compliance, and also the Title IX Coordinator for Appalachian. I appreciate the opportunity to take part in this vigil and walk this evening, and to join you in supporting and honoring the experiences of victims and survivors.
Events and demonstrations that support those who have been affected by interpersonal violence are an important catalyst for culture change. We are all here tonight because we recognize that there are deep-seeded misperceptions about interpersonal violence that need to change. College campuses have historically been places where students shine a spotlight on issues of national and international importance, and Appalachian is no exception.
What I can say with confidence is that, unlike some of the women and men who have walked a similar path - and indeed paved the way for us to be here tonight - there are many, many people in staff positions, faculty positions and administrative positions who share your concern, your empathy and your outrage, for the injustices suffered by those who have experienced interpersonal violence.
In September, at the 25th Annual Walk for Awareness, Chancellor Everts said in one of her very first public addresses, and I quote, “I ask you to join me in sending a loud and clear message that those who perpetrate shameful acts of violence are not welcome in our community. We will not be bystanders; rather, we will stand up to ensure our safety and the safety of those around us.” I can quote this because I was there, and also because she placed this speech on her website. These are strong and powerful words from the leader of our community, and I ask you to hear me when I say they made a significant impression on the staff and faculty here. The same staff and faculty who work closely with students every day, and whose job it is to help our students navigate not only academic challenges, but challenges associated with violence and discrimination.
As Title IX coordinator for Appalachian, I want you to know that I am always available as a resource and partner to advance the critical work of addressing interpersonal violence. While I have been here only a few months, in this time, I have found a community of students, faculty and staff who are dedicated to making a difference.
One way you can support the important work of advocating for those who find themselves marginalized or victimized is by working with our Interpersonal Violence Council. This council grew out of a task force first charged in May 2012. Comprised of students, faculty and staff, the council continuously works to ensure Appalachian has effective prevention, education and support service practices in place. And while there is much to do, this council’s work has led to specific action items that are taking place right now on our campus that have already made a difference, and will, without a doubt, effect powerful changes on our campus that will be felt for generations of students to come.
As part of the ongoing work of the council, more than 800 staff and faculty have already received training this semester to better understand and respond to those who reach out to share that they have suffered from interpersonal violence. In addition to the education programs presented at orientation and for all students throughout the year, the university introduced HAVEN – an online education program with the same goals of education, awareness and working to change systemic responses to interpersonal violence that take place nationwide.
While we all recognize that the issues we face are shared across the nation and indeed in many places across the globe, change begins at home, and each of us has a critical role in ensuring the safety of our community. We are fortunate to live and learn at Appalachian, because this place truly understands that it takes students, faculty and staff working together to address critical safety issues. When we work together to share the message that there is no place in our community, or society, for sexual assault… when we work together to offer resources in ways that clearly place the responsibility for criminal actions on the perpetrator while helping the survivors… when we do this together, we are creating a community in which those who would assault are deterred, and those who need our help are able to reach out for the assistance they need.