Sexual Assault Awareness Month and how to be a better ally

Zoe Bogarty, News Editor

April is the month to bring awareness and light to the voices of victims and survivors of sexual assault campus and around the world.
Organizations like Elevate are taking this month to educate and be the voice for anyone in the student body who has faced sexual violence by planning many activities for the remainder of the month.
Elevate was created in the fall of 2020 and is an empowerment and advocacy group for survivors and supporters of sexual violence awareness. The group does its best to provide a safe place for any survivors to come and share their stories and learn how to be better supporters for the people going through this tragedy.
“We are having our action week the last week of April. This spring we are doing the pledge signing tables, the Clothesline Project and possibly a self-defense class at an Elevate meeting. There’s always a Safe Haven sponsored survivor speakout, usually held in the Upper Chapel, but we’re going to try to find a different space.” Creator of Elevate, Reina Britt, said.
Posters have been placed around campus advertising all the events happening this month, the dates are listed below.
Though there was severe controversy with the Clothesline project after the incident last year where shirts were removed due to privacy violations, the university encourages students to continue to speak up and share their stories with the student body.
“Students have a right to protest on campus,” said Dustin Hargis, director of fraternity and sorority life and student leadership. “We want to make sure that groups know how to go about organizing and registering something like this if they would like. I think as a whole we will continue to ensure students have spaces to share their voices and thoughts and continue to provide educational opportunities for the student body.”
This month is also used to encourage students to be better-informed allies to those around them, and help spread awareness even when the month has passed.
Robert Pool, director of student affairs, said “If someone comes to you and they start to share their innermost fears, trauma, hurt, believe them. Just believe them. You just need to believe them and help them find support.”
Plans for action week have already been finalized however continuous support is always needed for people during their time of need.
“Take a trauma-informed approach,” Britt said. “Recognize that everybody heals differently, everyone processes trauma differently. If you make sure that you support the survivors and you’re there for them, I think that’s the best thing you can do. Sometimes all they need is a listening ear.”

Events happening throughout the week:

Clothesline Project T-shirt Making, April 21 at 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Eagles Landing
Clothesline Project Set-up, April 22 at 3 p.m.
It’s On Us Pledge Signing Tables, April 25-28 at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Lower Convo
Elevate Meeting Self Defense Class, April 25 at 7 p.m.
National Denim Day, April 27
Survivor Speak Out in Lower Chapel, April 28 at 6 p.m.