Sexual Assault Awareness Month to emphasize communication

By Cielestia Calbay

In an effort to raise awareness and educate both the campus and
local communities, the Violence Prevention & Women’s Resource
Center will feature educational and interactive events as part of
Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

Cal Poly joins a national initiative to educate individuals
about sexual violence and to promote ways in which both men and
women can prevent it.

According to Erika Zepeda, program coordinator for the center, 1
in 4 college-aged women will be a victim of sexual assault during
the academic year.

Zepeda believes various factors that contribute to sexual
assault include alcohol, drugs and insecurity.

The 2009 theme is “I Love Consensual Sex,” which was developed
by the National Organization for Women. The campus has been
honoring the month for more than a decade.

Throughout the month of April, the Violence Prevention &
Women’s Resource Center will be offering free “I Love Consensual
Sex” buttons and stickers in their office.

The events kick off tomorrow with the Teal Ribbon Campaign in
which individuals can purchase teal ribbons for $1. Proceeds
benefit the center’s educational programs.

New to this year’s events is the Women’s Workshop Series, which
aims to give women an outlet to share personal stories and include
issues concerning females.

The series was developed after hundreds of students were
surveyed in what topics they were interested in and concerned about

“We hope to continue to offer these workshop series because it’s
a way to reach out to female students who may be not be willing to
be open about these topics,” said Zepeda.

Zepeda cites the “Consensual and Nonconsensual Sex: Promoting
Healthy Relationships” discussion to be the most prominent, as it
emphasizes the importance of open communication between the
opposite sexes in relationships.

The highlight of the featured events will be the annual march
and rally taking place Thursday, April 23, in which students,
faculty and staff make their own signs and rally around campus to
protest sexual violence.

“Because of [the] statistics on [sexual assault] against women,
we are encouraging men to take part in the rally,” said Zepeda.

Another highlight is “Take Back Night,” an evening celebration
honoring women and feature free food, music and the traditional
candlelight vigil.

The name stems from the concept of taking back the night a woman
was sexually assaulted and beginning a new start.

Reach Cielestia Calbay at

Sexual Assault Awareness Month to emphasize communication

Brandon Tan/Poly Post

Sexual Assault Awareness Month to emphasize communication

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