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Lisa Rävar departs Office of Gender Violence Prevention and Education

October 1, 2021

Amira Oguntoyinbo
MOVING ON: While Rävar will be sorely missed on the Bowdoin campus, the wider Maine community will be lucky to have her at Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Lisa Rävar ’07 is leaving her role as director of gender violence prevention and education (OGVPE), Associate Vice President for Inclusion and Diversity Benje Douglas announced in an email to the campus community this Tuesday.

Rävar’s role has shifted in her six years with the Office. When she was first hired, Rävar worked as the director of student accessibility and also worked to coordinate sexual violence prevention efforts in the Office of Gender Violence Prevention and Education. She then shifted into a position as Associate Director of Gender Violence Prevention and Education, before becoming Director of the Office in the last year.

As her position within the Office evolved, so did her conception of the work.

“My understanding of [my] work has shifted a lot since I started,” Rävar said. “The hard reality that I’ve had to face is that [gender violence] isn’t an issue that we can educate ourselves out of. The challenging thing about this work is it takes a really long time to see the fruits of your labor. But I’ve seen pieces of it, and that is really heartening. It makes me excited to think about how campus can continue to grow and evolve to become as safe and respectful as possible for students here.”

Reflecting on Rävar’s tenure as director, Douglas said she was instrumental in the expansion and development of RISE: Stories of Bowdoin Women, an annual student-led production. Douglas also commended Rävar’s deep integration into campus life.

“She worked with us as a confidential resource, but then also as an educator and thought leader,” Douglas said.

Rävar has worked closely with students throughout her tenure with the Office, supporting them in a number of capacities.

“[Rävar] has been a tremendous force for good through her workshops, trainings and just being a compassionate listener for students in need of support,” said Kyle Putnam ’22, a peer educator in the Office of Gender Violence Prevention and Education. “I am so sad that she’s leaving Bowdoin but so excited to see the work she’s going to do in her new role … She will be able to support people all over the state of Maine, and I know the world will be a better place for it.”

Rävar will be entering a new role as a prevention and community change coordinator at the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, an organization that aims to support sexual violence prevention and response throughout Maine communities.

“My role will be thinking about what primary prevention looks like in the greater community and really interrogating that from a … lens of recognizing that there’s greater structural systems that enable sexual violence to happen,” Rävar said. “How can we mobilize communities to address those root causes? And how can we also build the capacity of folks who are doing prevention work within local rape crisis centers to be most effective and feel most confident in their work?”

After Rävar’s departure, Rachel Reinke, associate director of the Sexuality, Women and Gender Center, will serve as interim director of the office. Douglas said he expects that a full-time director will be in place for the 2022-23 academic year.

Emily Staten contributed to this report.


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