Sexual Assault Awareness Week educates, supports

SIUE–through a series of informative and engaging events held on campus–observed Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

On the week of April 11 – 15, SIUE’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Task Force hosted a series of activities including an educational presentation about sexual assault; a clothesline project; a movie showing and a Rape Aggression Defense Demonstration provided by the SIUE Police Department.

Levora Taylor, the medical and legal advocate for Call-For-Help, educates and enlightens students about sexual assault.

Megan Denton, staff counselor with SIUE counseling services, is the coordinator of the SIUE Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Task Force and one of the key organizers for the Awareness Week at SIUE.

“The Task Force has worked throughout the academic year to develop programming ideas for the Awareness Week and I have worked in collaboration with various departments within the University to implement these ideas,” said Denton.

According to Denton, the purpose behind Awareness Week is multidimensional. The need for SIUE–or any college campus–to observe Sexual Assault Awareness Week goes beyond raising awareness.

“In my opinion, sexual assault is one of the most important issues facing college students today,” explained Denton. “Observing sexual assault awareness week helps to increase awareness; provide education; and encourage prevention of sexual violence. It also helps to make resources more readily available to survivors and increases a sense of support for these individuals.”

Each event held during the Awareness Week had its own unique purpose. The week kicked off with an informative presentation by Levora Taylor, the medical and legal advocate for Call-For-Help. During her presentation, Taylor offered advice; explained what constitutes sexual assault; and debunked myths regarding rape and victim’s rights.

“We chose to host an educational presentation provided by Call-For-Help,” said Denton. “We felt that an educational component to the awareness week was necessary.”

On Wednesday, the Clothesline Project gave students an opportunity to express how sexual assault has affected their lives. According to Denton, the t-shirts that the students used to express their feelings also serve as a visual representation of the impact and prevalence of sexual assault.

The week concluded on Thursday with the task force providing information tables in the Morris University Center Goshen Lounge and a Rape Aggression Defense Demonstration.

“I hope that those who attend the awareness week events will take away a sense of empowerment and knowledge that will increase support for survivors and hopefully decrease the occurrence of sexual assault in time,” said Denton.

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