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The Hook Up: Become Upstanders, Not Bystanders

By Lindsey Smith– MAC’s first campus event started with a bang as students could be heard calling out, “whore,” “slut,” and “stud.”

In fact, students were not verbally abusing others, but bringing light to how society views individuals who engage in sex.

Courtney Abbott, a senior educator at Catharsis Productions, led the discussion with a humorous twist, calling on the audience to help illustrate her points.

Called “The Hook Up,” her presentation aims to start an open dialogue with students, educating them on the ways language and society continue to perpetuate rape culture, while also offering students techniques on how to be more than bystanders to these events.

Abbott’s reason for her work is simple, “Everyone has both a responsibility and the capacity to stop rape.”

“The Hook Up” emphasized five main points to help students end sexual violence:

1. Shut down language that turns people into objects.

2. Know the difference between healthy sexual experiences, bad experiences, and actual rape.

3. Understand the profile of a predator.

4. Be encouraged to be an upstander, an advocate for those who are victims of sexual assault or violence instead of a bystander who does nothing.

5. Use of the four D’s: Direct-Talk directly to victim or predator about situation. Distraction-Take victim to another place, start a conversation. Delegate-Ask another person to intervene if uncomfortable. Delay-Talk to a victim of sexual assault/violence. Believe in them.

Abbott has a passion for this line of work after performing for 12 years with Catharsis, a company geared towards delivering serious messages in unique, impactful ways.

While she has spoken at 1,288 venues, Abbott is still surprised by the people, as she enthusiastically says, “I love it when the audience surprises me with how woke they are.”

Becky Hanson, a junior, added to Abbott’s thoughts saying, “It surprises me to see certain guys as such feminists.”

Abbott is a self-described loudmouth and caring educator who is available through many forms of social media. For anyone wanting to learn more about these programs, Abbott can be found on Catharsis Productions’ website, courtney@catharsisproductions.com as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Anyone looking for more information on sexual assault and violence can also visit rainn.org, a website created to share the stories of victims as well as provide an outlet for people to donate, get involved, and seek help from sexual assault and violence.