WGAC to host keynote for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Students+sit+outside+the+Women+and+Gender+Advocacy+Center.+The+WGAC+offers+support+to+survivors+of+relationship+violence+March+23.

Collegian | Luke Bourland

Students sit outside the Women and Gender Advocacy Center March 23. The WGAC offers support to survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence.

Jack Miller, News Reporter

Colorado State University is hosting multiple events throughout the month of April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Women and Gender Advocacy Center is putting on these events to increase recognition of sexual abuse and sexual violence.

These events include writing activities, planting succulents, self-care containers and an opportunity to attend a keynote speech.

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Victoria Benjamin serves as the program coordinator for victim advocacy at the WGAC. Benjamin helped plan these events with the intention of providing a safe place for survivors to share their story and overcome their trauma.

“One aspect of self-care is engaging in things that bring you joy and make you feel good. But it is also about healing and overcoming trauma.” –Victoria Benjamin, WGAC program coordinator for victim advocacy

“Survivors sharing their story is significant for activism,” Benjamin said. “It’s also a very important step for healing and education.”

Because these events are centered around survivors, it’s important to see the value in these stories not just to the individual but also to the people listening.

“Sharing your story isn’t only empowering for the person sharing it, it’s also empowering for the survivors listening,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin realizes it’s difficult for survivors to share their story. However, she and the WGAC are taking steps to ensure survivors feel comfortable and safe.

“No one is required to share,” Benjamin said. “For those who want to share, we have our speaker’s bureau and advocates working directly with survivors helping them share their story.”

Another important theme in the events is self-care. Benjamin spoke to the importance of self-care and the different components to it.

“Self-care can mean different things for different people,” Benjamin said. “One aspect of self-care is engaging in things that bring you joy and make you feel good. But it is also about healing and overcoming trauma. It requires the individual to process their emotions, and that isn’t always easy.”

The keynote speech, given by Chanel Miller, will be on April 21 at 6 p.m. Miller is the author of “Know My Name,” a New York Times bestseller describing her own experience with sexual assault and the steps she took to reclaim her identity.

The keynote speaker event will be available for those who want to attend in person and those who want to attend virtually.

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Along with these events, advocates at the WGAC offer assistance to survivors of sexual harassment, assault and violence 24/7 year-round. The WGAC provides drop-in and scheduled appointments. To reach the Victim Assistance Team hotline, call 970-492-4242.

Reach Jack Miller at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @millerjack02.