Education and prevention tools are an important part of avoiding and responding to instances of sexual harm, and the Sexual Respect Team in the Department of Student Health and Wellness’ Office of Health Promotion serves as the primary lead for prevention efforts at UVA.
These guidelines and strategies are intended to promote a community of care both on and off-Grounds. The University of Virginia is devoted to creating and maintaining an environment where you feel heard, respected, and safe, and where you have the opportunity to thrive and grow.
As a member of our community, it is also your role to ensure that you maintain this environment for others as well as yourself, and we appreciate your commitment to our community of care.
The University of Virginia aims to prevent sexual harm in our community through a variety of initiatives and evidence-informed interventions. These efforts include education and awareness programs, internships, interventions, and applied research. Through this work, we are creating and sustaining a community of care and sexual respect.
Overall, we frame our work with a paradigm of sexual respect, which affirms an individual’s exercise of choice regarding their own self, body, and sexuality and promotes a culture built on trust, communication, and healthy relationships.
Collaborative consent constitutes on-going communication between an individual and any partners built on mutual respect, honesty, and trust. In it, you and your partner(s) are affirmed to exercise your freedom regarding desires and preferences in any given moment or situation.
Hoos Got Your Back (HGYB) Video
In 2014, #HoosGotYourBack (#HGYB) began as a student initiative dedicated to raising awareness about the issue of sexual harm as part of the Green Dot Bystander Intervention Program in the Office of the Dean of Students. The primary purpose of Green Dot was to train the UVA community and local merchants in active bystandership. The UVA community and local merchants demonstrated their support for a harm free Grounds by wearing their #HGYB t-shirts on designated days to signify that we all have got each other’s back.
In 2018, #HGYB moved under the Office of Health Promotion, and became Hoos Got Your Back (HGYB). The name shift signified transitioning from the Green Dot bystander program to one more focused on more holistic public health approaches to preventing sexual harm, including trainings for all first year and transfer students, as well as multiple student groups, including athletic programs, fraternities, and sororities.
In 2020, the Office of Health Promotion created the Sexual Respect team to expand its prevention efforts beyond Hoos Got Your Back. The team has created dedicated programs focused on positive relationships, healthy masculinity, collaborative consent, and sexual health education and integrated digital health topics into existing programs. The Office of Health Promotion expanded research and assessment, internship opportunities, for credit academic classes and strategic planning with partners across UVA to address sexual harm and promote sexual respect from multiple avenues.