April marks Sexual Assualt Awareness Month

Melissa Jabek, Contributing Writer

Monday begins Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Service (SACIS) is hosting events during the whole month to help raise awareness.

Sexual Assault can be defined as “anytime anyone is discriminated against sexually, in the form of sexual violence, sexual harassment or if they are assaulted without consent,” said Stephanie Anderson, the volunteer coordinator at SACIS.

Sexual assault prevention started to gain traction in the 1940s and 1950s with the civil rights era — the movement for social change and equality.

Before sexual assault awareness had its own month, it was a week in the month of April that included events, marches and observances related to sexual violence.

Samantha McCullough, the office manager at SACIS, said during the month of April the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s (NSVRC) theme for this year’s is “I Ask.”

“It is focusing on the consent portion,” McCullough said. “It is about being conscious of other people and their rights.”

Peace Over Violence, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles, led the first Denim Day in 1999.

Young Writers at Bob’s Bookstore is an event people can attend to share and hear other people’s experience with sexual assault, McCullough said. It is April 10 from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Find a Rainbow is an event that will be held at the Doudna Steps from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday where people can paint and place rainbow rocks.

Take Back the Night is an event that will be held on April 18 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Campus Pond.

Take Back the Night first started in San Francisco when the first rape crisis center opened; in 1978, Take Back the Night was first held as an event, according to the NSVRC.

SACIS’ Take Back the Night will start at 6 p.m. with gaming and poster making. At 7 p.m., attendees will march around campus.

Denim Day is on April 24 at the Bridge Lounge. From 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., people can decorate their denim clothing.

Denim Day comes from an Italian Supreme Court that overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans on the day she was sexually assaulted, according to the University of Wisconsin.

“It just gives them a chance to be heard because often there are a lot of overlooked populations and our youth population is a huge population affected by sexual assault and they deserve a chance to be heard,” McCullough said.

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes is on April 28 at held at Morton Park in Charleston. Registration starts at 1 p.m. and the walk begins at 2 p.m.

The event used to be called “Walk a Mile Her Shoes,” but SACIS just recently changed it be more inclusive.

“Females aren’t the only ones affected by sexual assault,” McCullough said. “It’s something that affects all of us in different ways and we want that to be known; we want our walk to be inclusive to all.”

On Thursday April 25, a few days before Walk a Mile in Their Shoes, people can decorate the shoes they want to walk in. On the 28th, these same people can wear these decorated shoes for the walk.

The decoration portion of the event is at 5 p.m. on the 25th. Registration is $10 per student and $20 for general admission.

Melissa Jabek can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].