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Sexual Assault Awareness Month Events Planned Throughout April

april sexual assault awareness month

The SUNY Plattsburgh Title IX Office and Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will host a series of programs throughout the month of April, National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, in support of victims of sexual assault and to sound a call for action.

According to the Department of Justice, an American is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds. The Center for Disease Control reports that:

  • More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience sexual violence
  • Forty-seven percent of transgender people experience sexual violence
  • Women of color disproportionately experience sexual violence

kim irlandCommemorated in April for more than 20 years, Sexual Assault Awareness Month has become “an annual advocacy-focused theme month that aims to highlight both the societal progress we’ve made and the needs still unmet to improve prevention and response options to reports of interpersonal and intimate partner violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and stalking,” said Kimberly Irland, SUNY Plattsburgh’s Title IX coordinator.

Mobilize, Rally Support

At Plattsburgh, the month-long programming aims “to mobilize community action and rally support for a campus culture where reporting individuals of any gender or racial identity feel safe coming forward to access supportive measures and resolution options,” Irland said.

The connection between sexual assault awareness and prevention and understanding and preserving safe and healthy interpersonal relationships is inseparable, Irland said.

As such, the variety of programming throughout the month looks to “engage our campus community in skill building and address identified needs that will positively impact our campus culture and uproot the causes that perpetuate cycles of harm,” she said.

The month-long observation begins Wednesday, April 3 when the university “Teals the Quad.” From noon to 3 p.m., Amite Plaza will be awash in the teal, the color that represents sexual assault awareness. Participants are invited to wear teal, paint rocks for the Amite gardens, chalk the plaza sidewalks and decorate teal paper ornaments for display indoors and out. Resource tables will be on site with on- and off-campus support services and providers. University Police and the Student Association will be providing free snacks.

Other events planned include:

  • April 3: “Behind the Post,” 5:30 p.m. Cardinal Lounge, a workshop designed by the One Love Foundation that helps examine how social media can skew our view of the relationships around us and, in some cases, influence our decisions to stay in unhealthy ones
  • April 15: Digital Evidence and Online Safety with the New York State Police, noon-1 p.m. Cardinal Lounge, will discuss how many investigations of sexual violence involve digital forensics. State police will introduce these digital-era investigation methods and teach people how to better preserve digital evidence when they encounter the need
  • April 17: Panel Discussion on Sexual Violence, 11 a.m. Cardinal Lounge, hosted by the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies
  • April 22: Human Trafficking Presentation, noon to 1 p.m., Cardinal Lounge, presented by Behavioral Health Services North STOP Domestic and Sexual Violence and hosted by Title IX, discussion will include understanding and defining human trafficking, identifying demographics of victims and traffickers, recognizing the signs, understanding medical and psychiatric health of victims, and knowing what to do if you suspect human trafficking
  • April 24: Denim Day, when SUNY Plattsburgh joins millions of people around the world who will wear jeans in solidarity of survivors of sexual violence. The day came in to being after a rape case was overturned in Italy in 1999 when justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent and creating what became known as the “jeans alibi.” The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.

Additionally, Hawkins Hall will be lighted up in teal to honor the month-long commemoration.

The month of events ends with the annual Take Back the Night walk Tuesday, April 30 beginning at 5 p.m. when participants will walk from campus to Planned Parenthood Outreach Center downtown. Healing circles will take place in the HUB and the Outreach Center at 6 p.m.

For more information and a full calendar of Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities, contact Irland at [email protected] or [email protected].

— By Associate Director of Communications Gerianne Downs

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