April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is right around the corner and it is also National Sexual Assault Awareness Month – a good time to remind our community of the university’s policy and resources related to sexual violence. Depending on which source you consult, you’ll find an estimated 20 to 25 percent of college women will be victims of sexual violence by the time they graduate. And women aren’t the only ones impacted. Men can be victims, too.  

The Division of Student Affairs has launched a new website on sexual assault. Located on the Dean of Students home page, this website provides information on how to help someone who has been sexually assaulted and what to do if you have been sexually assaulted, as well as resources, reporting information and the university policy on sexual violence. 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities:

  • April 8 – Denim Day
    Denim Day has been internationally celebrated since 1999 in protest of an Italian High Court ruling that overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing  jeans. Enraged by the verdict, women of the Italian Legislature protested the decision by wearing jeans to work. As news of the decision spread, so did the protest.
    In April each year universities, colleges, junior high and high schools, businesses, organizations and individuals will participate in Denim Day events. On April 8, 2011, the Luann Dummer Center for Women and the UST Sexual Violence Programming Committee are sponsoring Denim Day at St. Thomas. Contact the Luann Dummer Center for Women in Room 103, O’Shaughnessy Educational Center, to join the campaign – step forward; take a stand against rape.
  • April 17 – noon at Hamline University’s Bush Memorial Ball Room
    Sexual Offense Service is sponsoring its fourth annual Out of Darkness Into Light walk for survivors. This year’s theme is “We Are Human!” Michelle Garnett McKenzie, from The Advocates for Human Rights, is the featured speaker. Call (651) 643-3022 to register.
  • April 21-28 – The Clothesline Project
    Decorate T-shirts in honor of victims of all forms of gender-based and sexual violence. These T-shirts will be displayed in the quad to raise awareness of this issue.
  • April 28 – Take Back the Night
    This annual event includes a march to protest sexual violence and a program to give voice to all of us who are affected by this culture of violence.

When one assault occurs, it threatens the health and safety of our entire community. This is too large a problem to confront on our own. We need your help in making St. Thomas a safe place for all of our members. Please take a moment to review the university policies, reporting options and additional resources listed here. Even if you don’t need them right now, it’s important that you are prepared to help a fellow community member if anyone ever tells you they’ve been assaulted.

Thank you for your help and attention.