April 1 marks the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and UO staff, students and community partners will address sexual violence on campus through continued conversation and a host of events to raise awareness about sexual assault, campus initiatives and available resources.
A full month of events begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 1, at the Knight Law Center with an opening ceremony and gala to honor survivors of sexual violence. Students and staff can learn about events of the month ahead and ways to get involved, while enjoying art, food and refreshments.
Throughout the month, several group discussions and presentations will be held surrounding sexual violence prevention and education. Among them: Psi Chi will host Jennifer M. Gomez, a Ford Fellow and doctoral candidate; the University Counseling and Testing Center and University Housing will hold a Great Sexpectations workshop; Elizabeth Armstrong will give a lecture on “Sex, Alcohol, and Violence: How Status Competition Creates Risk”; Safe Ride will host a panel discussion on sexual violence prevention on campus and resources available to help; and a research presentation will be given on “Yeti — Campus Stories and Sexism in the Digital College Party Scene.”
Also on tap is a poetry slam where students can share spoken word, prose, songs, performance art and thoughts on sexual violence and other systems of oppression in our community. Every Friday, the Oregon Ballroom Dance Club will host an evening dedicated to a different type of dance, including swing, the tango and the cha-cha. These events will be used to open a discussion about sexual assault prevention and how social dancing can teach valuable skills that promote a safe and fun community.
In addition, a free viewing of “The Hunting Ground” is on the schedule, followed by a speaker panel addressing resources and ways to get involved in sexual violence prevention.
The month will conclude with a week of sexual violence prevention-focused programming, culminating with Take Back the Night, an evening dedicated to addressing misconceptions about sexual violence, hearing survivor’s voices and having community members stand by survivors. The night begins with a rally at 6 p.m. at the EMU amphitheater, followed by a march from the UO campus to the downtown Atrium Building at 99 W. 10th Ave., where survivors will share their stories at a SpeakOut.
Most events are free and open to the public. For a full list and details of the events, visit svpe.uoregon.edu/saam. To learn about other sexual assault prevention initiatives, education, and training and awareness campaigns for students visit svpe.uoregon.edu.
—By Karen Schmidt-MacKenzie, Student Life Communications