Sexual assault intervention training aims to turn bystanders into upstanders

Amy Chastain, Sports Editor


The #THATSNOTLOVE Bystander Intervention Training brought the message of the One Love Foundation to CSUSM on March 11 in order to raise awareness of and teach intervention skills about dating violence.

Christa Wencl, a Sexual Violence Advocate & Educator, and Health and Wellness Center Educator Cathy Nguyen co-hosted the training.

One Love Foundation, created to honor the memory of slain University of Virginia student-athlete Yeardley Love, defines signs of dating violence as including intensity, jealousy, control, isolation, sabotage, criticism, blame, anger, alcohol, group conquest and more serious criminal acts.

“Escalation,” a movie produced by the One Love Foundation, was presented during the two-hour training and later became a point of small group conversation.

“We would like to utilize [the One Love program] to further educate people about dating, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and to really help people see and be able to identify [dating violence],” Wencl said. “Then [they can] intervene and do something about it.”

Athletes of club sports on campus have already completed the training, resulting in almost 200 completed surveys about the topic of dating violence. The NCAA Division II teams at CSUSM participated in a similar training called “Hunting Ground.”

Club Baseball President Chris Benson, one of the athletes who participated, appreciated the real-world aspect of the training.

“You always hear these stories but never get to match faces…Having a person who you can look at and know they have gone through a traumatic event is way more impactful than any story you will ever read,” Benson said.

The hope for the future is bigger workshops that can educate more students on a topic that affects one in three women and one in four men during their lifetime, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual in 2010 (

If the numbers from the survey accurately reflect the experience of the young men and women on campus, there could be as many as 3,500 current or future victims.

The bystander training seminar is based off of the understanding that dating violence is a common occurrence on college campuses and is designed not only to help people feel confident intervening, but to become changemakers themselves.

“This program was really built to help people become facilitators,” Wencl said. “We need more facilitators so that we can do large groups and still give people that small, intimate, safer space to go a little deeper.”
Students interested in becoming facilitators for One Love Bystander Intervention Training should contact Christa Wencl at [email protected].