April is sexual assault awareness month and Survivor Advocacy Services (SAS) is taking part in the discussion with a variety of awareness events in a campaign to promote education and spur discussion regarding the subject.
The month kicked off with “Our Bodies, Our Minds” on April 9. This event consisted of theater-based skits where students were able to act out characters that were given to them by Art With Impact’s Program Director Maya Grodman.
Students learned about what goes through the mind of a sexual assault victim as well as the services that are available to them on and off campus.
Grodman says conversations and workshops are important as we can lose focus of the main issue.
“Giving a workshop on mental health and sexual violence is really important especially as the topic seems to be talked about more and more,” Grodman said. “But we realize the conversations that are being had that tend to focus on what did or didn’t happen.”
A panel at the event was comprised of representatives from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), SAS, House of Ruth, a center that assists victims of domestic violence, and Project Sister Family service which assists individuals who have experienced sexual assault. A student panelist and an alumna panelist who both shared their stories about sexual violence were also in attendance.
“There are millions of sexual violence victims who don’t seem to know they have mental health,” Grodman said. “We wanted to make way for students to get support from other survivors or people who want to help.”
The next event to take place was on April 13. In collaboration with resident advisors in University Housing, SAS led the annual tradition of painting the CPP letters teal to promote awareness for sexual assault.
Spearheaded by CAPS, the next event is “Send Silence Packing,” which takes place on April 15.
Naomi Chu, SAS coordinator, said that there’s an important connection between mental health and sexual assault.
“With sexual assault we need to acknowledge mental health,” she said.
The April 15 event featured an interactive display of over 1,000 backpacks. The purpose is to highlight the stories of college students who have lost their lives to suicide.
Next up is “Denim Day” on April 24. The annual event is a collaboration with the Bronco Events and Activities Team (BEAT) along with the Womxn’s Resource Center.
With the motto of “narrative, action, remembrance,” there will be a variety of programs taking place. The Clothesline Project remains on display in the Bronco Student Center, featuring narratives of survivors through shirts they created.
The display ties into the meaning of Denim Day by acknowledging the experiences of survivors. An important part of the day is Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, which serves as the “call to action” for students to engage and participate.
Chu explained that SAS staff want to encourage students to speak up and for professional staff to get educated about how trauma is born and how to respond to students when they share issues.