Sexual Assault Awareness Month to focus on community building

Ty Davis

Recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Colorado State University, in conjunction with the Women and Gender Advocacy Center and the Red Whistle Brigade, will be hosting events all April to raise awareness and education on numerous subjects regarding sexual assault. 

While having no official date of origin, SAAM is believed to have originated from protests in the 1970s in England by women wanting to rebel against and bring awareness to the violences they experienced at night. Eventually, these events spread and coalesced into the first Take Back the Night event in San Francisco in 1978, according to Her Campus by Appalachian State University.

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In the ’80s the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault began advocating for a week, and then a month, to raise awareness about sexual violence. In 2001 the National Sexual Violence Resource Center began organizing event nationwide, according to the NSVRC.

This months events include:

  • Disability and Interpersonal Violence Apr. 1
  • Men as Survivors of Sexual Assault Apr. 10
  • The Sexual Violence That No One Talks About: Stealthing Apr. 11
  • Plaza Day Apr. 17
  • CTMO (Consent Turns Me On) Carnival Apr. 18
  • #Metoo & Radical Self-Love Apr. 23
  • Zine and Mixtape Release Party Apr. 24
  • Take Back The Night Apr. 25

Resources for victims of sexual violence include but are not limited to: 
The Women and Gender Advocacy Center: (970)-491-6384
Colorado State University Counseling Services: (970)-491-7121.

This year’s events focus on a variety of intersectional topics including disability, male survivors of sexual assault, self-care and mental well-being.

“We didn’t have a set-in-mind mission statement for this year,” Assistant Director of Educational Programs at the WGAC, Elizabeth Amoa-Awuah, said. “What we try to do is really encourage our brigaders — so members of Red Whistle Brigade — to look into topics they’re interested in and make some kind of program based on that.”

Ashlyn Bradley, a member of the Red Whistle Brigade, said a main point of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to emphasize inclusivity. 

“Every time we do a program or an event we try to make it welcome to literally everyone,” Bradley said. “One our main focuses, when we’re planning something, is ‘is it inclusive to all of CSU’s campus?’”

Some of these events are lectures, but a few are open discussions and gatherings where people can simply meet to enjoy themselves or discuss their experiences.

“There’s something for everyone, there’s facilitations if you’re into presentations and someone talking,” Bradley said. “There’s speakers, there’s a carnival, there’s a fashion show, there really is a little bit of everything.”

Amoa-Awuah said that during this year’s Take Back The Night event, people will have the chance to speak on stage to share their personal experiences with sexual violence. The hope is that it will hopefully inspire others to seek out community.

“Something that survivors often face is a loss of community for one reason or another after the violence that impacts them, and so this is a way of rebuilding that community in a sense,” Amoa-Awuah said.

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According to the NSRVC, almost two-thirds of students experience a form of sexual violence. CSU has a number of resources available to those who have, including but not limited to The Women and Gender Advocacy Center: (970)-491-6384 and Colorado State University Counseling Services: (970)-491-7121. 

Ty Davis can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or Twitter @tydavisACW