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Men’s Basketball Team Joins Effort to End Sexual Violence

October 12, 2016

Building leadership and awareness among their teammates and their peers on campus: that was the goal for the men's basketball team last week when they held a mandatory training for players on sexual violence awareness.

The team participated in a screening of the film Escalation and completed awareness training based on the curriculum of the One Love Foundation, created to honor University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love who was killed by a former boyfriend in 2010.

"Escalation was an eye-opening experience for me and my peers. I strongly recommend all Lasell sports teams to get involved to help change the culture of our campus," said Lamont Gooden, a sophomore player on the team.

The team's co captains, Yordan Villalon and Armin Omanovic, along with Gooden, approached men's basketball coach Aaron Galletta earlier this fall about the mandatory team training, which was led by Justice Studies Professor Karin Raye, who teaches a course on domestic violence, and Jessica Teperow of the community organization Reach Beyond Domestic Violence.

"I believe it's difficult for men to speak out on domestic violence and sexual assault, however they are a key ingredient to changing the culture that has developed in society," said Galletta. "I feel my players and coaching staff greatly benefited from this program and I'm confident we can make a difference not only on campus, but also in the greater community as well."

The training of the basketball team follows a similar training held by the men's lacrosse team in the spring. In both cases, members of the team had been involved in Raye's domestic violence course prior to the training.

"I'm proud of my teammates and coaches for participating and shining light on a huge situation that doesn't receive as much attention as it should," said Omanovic, a student in Raye's class along with Gooden.

The training involved a screening of the film and then a debriefing process where the team members could talk with each other and facilitators about the issues and prevention. For some, including co-captain Yordan Villalon, gaining the knowledge was also personal.

"It was important to have my team go through this training, and, it was also important also for me because my best friend passed away due to domestic violence in 2014," said Villalon.

Information about the One Love Foundation and Reach Beyond Domestic Violence are available online.