New Internship Gives Students Opportunity to Reverse Gender Violence

  • Larryisa Thomas

Prairie View A&M University’s Title IX Office and Relationship and Sexual Violence Program (RSVP) are getting a boost from PVAMU’s sociology department. Students now have the opportunity to intern with Title IX and RSVP to help change the culture of relationship and sexual violence on campus. “Last fall, I taught a family violence class, and one of the topics we discussed in our course was rape culture, [which is] a society that normalizes sexual assault or abuse. I invited Nakia Hanson from RSVP to speak to students so that they could make a connection between the course readings and their everyday experiences as college students. Their response was amazing. The classroom presentation ended up being the beginning of a partnership between Title IX, RSVP, and Sociology,” said Dr. Farrah Gafford Cambrice, assistant professor of sociology at PVAMU.

The three units created an internship opportunity where student interns can receive 28 hours of training in sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking on college campuses. The skills gained can be used at any social service agency, non-profit, or even for research projects. “Students have an opportunity to advocate for victim’s rights and provide education and training to their peers on relationship and sexual violence. Students are also trained on how to facilitate primary prevention efforts on the campus of PVAMU,” said Cambrice.

Sociology major Larryisa Thomas kicked off the internship program this semester by hosting various student events and panels. Over the next couple of weeks, she will begin assisting with classroom presentations and training for faculty and staff. In addition to her internship duties, she is also receiving training on Title IX and Texas A&M University Title IX training. “The best part of my internship so far is the hands-on opportunities I’m able to participate in with the teachings of sexual assault, rape, and dating violence to students on campus. We as a student body would rather have open dialogues with each other rather than listen to lectures on this sensitive topic,” said Thomas.

Hanson said, “We live in a rape culture that denies the prevalence and impact of sexual violence; it does not believe victims, but rather blames them for their victimization. Sociologists examine the social and cultural conditions that intensify or perpetuate relationship and sexual violence. Thus, this new partnership between sociology, Title IX, and RSVP is a perfect fit.”