Sexual Assault Awareness Month Events at Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Since 2009, the month of April has been proclaimed as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The first Tuesday in April is when the month of awareness officially begins, which is referred to as “SAAM Day of Action.”
At Penn State, the Gender Equity Center is a resource for all students who have been impacted by sexual violence and other campus conflicts. The Center provides support, help and offers workshops all in attempts to prevent relationship violence.
At Penn State, The Gender Equity Center hosted events throughout the week of April 11-17 to raise awareness, educate and advocate against sexual violence.
These events included a performance of the play Emilia at the Pavilion Theater, a Pride March and Rally outside the HUB Robeson Center, a “Lunch and Learn'' with Kevin Naff, who is the author of “How We Won the War for LGBTQ Equality,” a “What Were You Wearing?” art display in the HUB and lastly, “The LGBTQ+ Agenda: Sex Ed.”
On Friday, April 14, the Gender Equity Center held a display of 39 outfits with survivor statements on the first floor of the HUB-Robeson Center from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
These outfits and statements were all posted anonymously and each statement varied in story-telling.
One outfit displayed was a white tee-shirt and blue jean shorts with the caption: “It was the Fourth of July… I always thought it would be the best weekend of my life.”
Capturing pain, toddler clothes were hanging exclaiming, “He said it was a game and I shouldn’t be scared, but games aren’t supposed to hurt. It continued for years. I thought family was supposed to protect you, not hurt you.”
Not one story out of the 39 stories were the same.
“He didn’t leave me alone until I finally said yes,” one paper read with pink pajamas under it.
From the Gender Equity Center, the display was open for all students and campus personnel. The exhibit was monitored by a Gender Equity Center staff member, along with a table with candy, stickers and pamphlets explaining their mission.
One testimony, “I was safe. I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” encapsulated the feeling of the whole display to show how victims and survivors are not to blame.
The Gender Equity Center is available for all students, which has resources for support, advocacy and reproductive health resources.
These assets are confidential and free, and can be found on their website:
Natalie Simone is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.