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There is a conflict on all American college campuses. Nationwide, 1 in 4 college relationships are abusive.

In an attempt to end this conflict, Mason’s Sexual Assault Services (SAS) has been promoting safe relationships where the two people in the relationship respect each other and each other’s opinions.

“Our office is critical because we’re able to provide education and outreach about healthy and unhealthy relationships,” said Hope Savolainen, Education Coordinator of SAS. “We are able to provide support to students who experienced abuse in their relationship.”

However, the office’s priority is to stop this abuse before it begins.

SAS promotes a healthy relationship through non-threatening behavior, respect, trust & support, honesty & accountability, shared responsibility, economic partnership and negotiation & fairness. SAS defines a relationship as two people who value and respect each other.

Along with these tips, the office also has key points on how to keep an exceptional relationship, start one across cultures and ways to spice up a couple’s love life. The goal of these tips is to create a relationship where the couple has equal responsibility and respect. If the relationship is strong and both trust and support each other, the office believes that this will prevent sexual assault from occurring.

The office orchestrates events to ensure safe and respectful relationships, including: Get Carded Day, Turn off the Violence Week, The Clothesline Project, Healthy Relationships Week, The Vagina Monologues, National Crimes Victims’ Rights Week and an annual 5K.

SAS hopes to achieve their goal of young relationships that are filled with accountability and honesty.

“Your partner fell in love with you as an individual,” said Savolainen. “That same independence and individuality can keep your relationship fresh, vital, forward moving, and alive.”

The program is based around promoting healthy and safe relationships, which garner love and safety. But the SAS is highly aware that this cannot always be a reality.

At sas.gmu.edu, there are pages to help victims of assault receive advice from past victims and contact information for grief counselors. In addition the website, the office in Sub 1 room 3200 offers additional resources and volunteer opportunities for aiding victims.