Athletes demand greater responsibility through PRSM trainings – The Oberlin Review

A workshop for student-athletes on preventing sexual assault and harassment, titled Consent in Athletics, was organized in April by the Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct project. The program was created by student-athletes, including third year college students V Dagnino, Anna Scott, and Kiki Widran and Louise Metz, OC ’21. The program was also developed by the student organization Survivors Of Sexual Harm and Allies. Student-athletes must complete consent training from the National Collegiate Athletic Association in addition to the two freshman workshops led by PRSM. However, many felt that NCAA training did not accurately describe the challenges and unique situations that Oberlin student-athletes face when it comes to preventing sexual assault and harassment.

“Since there are a number of PRSM athlete coaches out there, we have all had previous conversations regarding the training that has been offered to athletes in recent years,” Dagnino wrote in an email to Review. “We all sort of agreed that these scenarios and topics offered in these workshops did not cover important issues within the sports community on campus. The PRSM agreed that it would be a good idea to start and test a Consent Month athletics workshop that could cover more common topics for Oberlin athletes.

Scott pointed out that team culture discussions are particularly relevant to Oberlin, where an athlete’s actions can impact overall team culture and the perception of the sport community by non-athletes.

“I think athletes are definitely in a position of power on campus when participating in social events, and the types of ways that positive or negative team culture can determine how teams are respected is really important to talk about. “Scott wrote in an email to the Review.

The session included various scenarios where participants had the opportunity to discuss in small groups and then share with everyone. Topics included the power dynamics between a captain dating another member of a team, ostracism of a non-athlete by a team, and navigating situations where a teammate’s pronouns are not used. correctly. Cultivating a positive environment in all sports at Oberlin has been a motivation for many athlete training moderators.

“When it comes to Oberlin Athletics, I feel like we haven’t created a good culture among ALL of us yet,” Dagnino wrote. “There are teams on campus who are considered to have a ‘good reputation’ and others who have a ‘bad reputation’. We have to work to be good humans on and off the pitch because that creates a good culture… As Oberlin athletes we all want to develop as young adults and become the best versions of ourselves. Sport throughout our lives has given us a platform to acquire life skills, discipline and respect. ”

More than 90 student-athletes have registered for the training, and the PRSM plans to host more athlete-specific training in the future.

“I would very much like the PRSM to be able to continue offering this workshop during the month of consent as well as another in the fall if possible,” Metz wrote in an email to Review. “In addition, I have worked with the Title IX desktop and [Volleyball head coach] Erica Rau will rework this workshop as mandatory training for all athletes next year. My biggest goal for these sessions is to teach teams and athletes how to create positive change in their team culture. ”

Metz believes this training was just the first step in changing Oberlin’s athletic culture for the better.

“Recognizing that there is a problem is the first step, followed by setting higher expectations on how to be a good teammate and representative of Oberlin athletics,” she wrote. .

Although the participation rate exceeded expectations, participants and moderators noted that the training was dominated mainly by athletes featuring women. Metz noted that this trend goes beyond this specific workshop.

“This is a recurring conversation across all PRSM spaces, especially around the time of hiring,” she wrote. “A lot of people who are interested in this work are cis women or women who introduce women because they are so often survivors of sexual violence. In addition, our society refuses to hold cis men accountable for their attitudes towards these conversations. Rather, we allow them to believe that they don’t need to be part of this process until they personally assault someone.

Scott added that it can be difficult to get people to take voluntary training.

“Volunteer workshops are a challenge because they are, of course, volunteers,” they wrote. “Then on the other hand, the mandatory trainings sometimes have negative connotations behind them and you end up bringing in people who don’t even want to be there, which ends up being a waste of everyone’s time. Overall, the PRSM is working to develop new ideas on how to get more participation in these types of meetings and sessions.

Wildran expressed his disappointment with the lack of representation of the men’s teams.

“There are some men’s teams in Oberlin that people know how to avoid for fear of getting hurt, and I have to believe these teams know their reputation,” she wrote. “However, despite knowing this, it is clear that they may not care or see a problem in the way they have harmed others, and have no intention of growing up or to correct their behavior This was probably the most demoralizing part of this workshop, because despite the best intentions of those of us who created or assisted, we didn’t really reach the audience we were trying to target.

The moderators at Consent in Athletics are finding ways to attract more athletes, especially those from men’s teams.

“I always say it’s very telling that some people show up regularly at events like the ones organized by PRSM: it shows that these people are actively there to learn, grow and improve,” Scott wrote. “It’s really unfortunate that we’ve always had lower attendance from the predominantly male team members, and we’re actively adapting how we think about workshops going forward and ways we can involve more. of people. “

Ongoing encouragement from coaches and administrative staff will also be crucial in getting athletes from predominantly male teams to participate. Scott believes that until there is administrative support, it will be difficult to get some teams involved. Some teams were unable to participate due to match schedules, but the PRSM proposed to lead make-up sessions.

“I really hope that the administrative and coaching staff in athletics can become more involved in this process of educating and working with athletes on these topics, because without their enthusiasm and active and persistent support, athletes won’t take this seriously either, ”Scott wrote.

While Oberlin College athletics has made great strides in including and supporting student-athletes from all walks of life, the job is far from done.

“We want these workshops to serve as a starting point, where teams can then feed back what they learned and discussed into their team settings to create a better culture around damage throughout Oberlin athletics.” , wrote Widran.

Dagnino challenges student-athletes to think about and learn more about preventing sexual assault and harassment, not only for their well-being, but also for the Oberlin community as a whole.

“We have to continue to challenge ourselves and be better,” said Dagnino. “Not only for the sake of our own team cultures, but for the sake of the Oberlin community, we need to be better. “