Beyond “Women Helping Women”

By Lilly Necessary and Daphne Nelson

In the first two weeks of 2022, “Women Helping Women” visited the freshman class to give a five-day presentation about the prevention of power-based violence. Vicky Hausberger, Upper School Counselor, said, “You know they are the only organization, really, in the state that will address power-based violence this way, with a curriculum that they provide to the school.” The organization goes to schools and universities around the state to inform all ages about gender-based violence that occurs in our society. 

“Women Helping Women” specializes in Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Stalking, Teen Dating Violence, and more. The information was simplified into a formula easy for children to follow. For example, the five Ds of bystander intervention which are tools to help support someone who is being harmed, get the situation into the hands of an adult, and in some cases intervene and distract to try and de-escalate: Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay, and Direct.

They presented many other ways to remove yourself or others from a situation that contains power-based violence, along with scenarios to distract and eliminate attention. These strategies were presented to cater to the freshman age group and provided realistic examples that were easy to understand. Topics like sexual assault, stalking, and just overall rules for keeping yourself safe are sometimes tough to talk about, and being direct, raw, and honest is valued because they should not be sugar-coated.

However, despite the strengths of their presentation and time with us, there were also weaknesses. There is only so much you can get to in the amount of time available. Hausberger said, “They really prefer to do their program for five hours, and we could only really schedule them for five half hours.” Learning about the brain and how it responds to trauma can be beneficial when addressing these topics but was not included in our “Women Helping Women” presentation. 

Overall, there is no doubt a seed was planted to have these tough conversations, but there is still more to learn to help keep our student body safe. This was an excellent start to informing Seven Hills students of the problems occurring in our world, but more details need to be addressed.