Importance of the Anti-Violence Alliance

The AVA helps create a discussion on the uncomfortable things

The Anti-Violence Alliance is a student-run organization tasked with helping students who have struggled with violence on campus and helping others learn how to support those who have been affected by it. The AVA also supports minority students who may face discrimination in a campus setting and helps them deal with this.

Through their physical resources and online presence, the AVA disseminates detailed advice on how to live an emotionally healthy life and how to handle common scenarios such as:

  • What to do if someone makes a racist comment about your friend.
  • What to do if a co-worker blames a domestic violence survivor.
  • What to do if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed by classwork.
  • What a healthy relationship looks like.
  • What consent looks like.

A lot of people are told consent simply means that asking is required, “no means no” and that an unconscious person cannot consent. It’s more complicated than this, which is where the AVA comes in.

This not only helps individuals notice red flags in their relationships, but it also helps everyone learn how to provide their partner with a healthy romantic or sexual relationship. I believe this is important for everyone to learn how to avoid sexual violence.

Sexual violence can happen to anyone, and knowing these things can prevent the violence before it happens. Knowing what the AVA teaches helps victims of violence know when they are being hurt and why, and it helps people who are interested in romantic or sexual activity to know how to treat their partner correctly.

In these kinds of relationships, I find myself in both a dominant and a submissive position, or a combination of both, depending on who my partner is. By viewing the AVA’s resources as someone who may take on a dominant position, I can learn how to make sure my partner is genuinely consenting and happy, allowing us both to have a healthy experience.

Beforehand, I had a difficult time trusting if a partner communicating their consent was being honest, even when they were conscious, sober and seemed genuinely willing. This held me back from wanting to experience happy romantic and sexual relationships again.

As someone who has experienced others wanting to engage in a sexual relationship with me, knowing what the AVA teaches would have helped me know that my discomfort in some of those situations was normal, and knowing these things would have helped me set boundaries.

During those relationships, I set my boundaries aside and was told that feeling this kind of invasion of my body and feeling dirty afterwards was normal. I have experienced sexual relationships where consent was not present and relationships where I was guilty of setting my boundaries aside and giving ingenuine consent. Neither of these are fun to deal with.

The AVA’s main purpose is to prevent these things from happening in the first place. By looking at their resources, I have received help on how to deal with my past experiences without sharing anything about myself, including my name.

For a long time I found many of these things hard to talk about. I was worried that revealing my identity in the process of looking for help would result in me being told that I’m not a victim, that I’m lying and that someone else’s experience was more extreme and more valid than my own.

I am not the only person the AVA has helped in these sorts of situations. The AVA is an important resource for students on campus and deserves to continue to provide people with the information they do.