NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State University athletics department hosted MEND Program workshops for student athletes, coaches and administration on Friday, January 20 on the main campus.
The OVC training on sexual prevention through the MEND program was held in the Auditorium of the Student Success Center. Tracy DeTomasi, YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee - VP of Domestic Violence Services, and Shan Foster, Director of MEND, were the key presenters for the workshops.
The speakers hit on a number of topics but really emphasized how coaches and student athletes can work together towards ending violence against women. Not only with their actions but with words as well.
“It means a lot to be able to talk to coaches about becoming part of the solution to end violence against women and girls,” said Foster. “Coaches have so much influence on the lives of young people, not just in the four years that they’re in school, but even afterwards. To champion a message like this means that you care more about the student than you do the athlete. This is an issue that really has hurt so many, and it’s time to change. Nashville has been the ‘it’ city for so many things, and now it’s exciting to see coaches and men step up to make Nashville the safest city in the world for women and girls.”
The coaches attended the 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. session while the student athletes met from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
DeTomasi talked about the importance of an athlete’s influence. “Student-athletes have such an influence on college campuses. If they can influence other athletes into recognizing the culture that supports violence against women, we can really do something to change this epidemic and to really shift the numbers in the statistics, which is really important for everyone.”
MEND is an innovative, primary prevention initiative dedicated to ending violence against women and girls by engaging and educating young men. MEND seeks to elevate the conversation about violence against women and girls; engage men to be part of the solution; educate men and boys to challenge and change the current culture; and end violence against women and girls.
Student Athlete Quotes
“I learned the main concepts of masculinity throughout this seminar. I was shown that what we are taught at a young age can affect our growth as we become older. The presentation showed me how certain words and phrases can assist in the degrading of women. I have an opportunity as a student-athlete to influence others. As men, we have some control over the future. The steps we take now can help change the future of our women going forward.” Samson Oyediran – Men’s Basketball
“What I got out of it mostly is that men or males act the way they do because they always are taught "be a man or act like a man" and that makes them where they can't show emotion or be true to themselves.” – Chris Collins, Football
“A major thing that people don't think about is how we say and do things without thinking about how that's someone's little sister or relative we are talking about. We wouldn't want our relative to be treated like that… so what's the difference?” – Samantha Beltran, Volleyball
“I learned that you don't have to be rich or have a lot of females to be a man, you don't have to be hard and tough… basically, something you not. But to provide and take care of your responsibilities is being a man” – Justin Brooks, Football
“I learned new things about how women could protect themselves in certain situations.” – Franceska Brown, Women’s Basketball
“I learned that the smallest things you say can be sexual assault towards a girl and that some things are just better not said” - Tyrell Doss, Football