April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

A message from the Office of Student Life:

On Jan. 22, the White House announced an initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses, bringing to light an issue that affects thousands of young people every year. This action by the White House is the latest in a series of federal legislation and guidelines over the years intended to address the problems associated with sexual violence on college campuses.

The message is clear: we must educate our students and staff on the topics of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. We must provide them with the resources and options for any situation involving sexual misconduct. As Crusaders, we must be willing to assist those who may be afraid to come forward or who may not know where to turn to for help.

The University of Dallas is making strides in opening up the conversation about a subject that was once rarely discussed. Research indicates that one in four college-aged women will be the victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during her four years in college. While statistics for college-aged men are not as clear, we do know that men experience sexual violence during their college careers. There are many people on the front lines working to support survivors and bring the perpetrators to justice, but that work alone will not end the problem. To prevent further victimization, we need a major shift in attitudes and increased awareness about the subject that many do not want to talk about.

Below is a list of some of the programs and events that will be taking place during Sexual Assault Awareness Month:

Help UD Define Sexual Violence – A lecture and discussion about sexual violence

April 3 | 7:00 p.m. | Lynch Auditorium

UD is currently defining its sexual assault policy in accordance with new U.S. government legislation. Come voice your opinion and help UD shape its new Sexual Violence policy. Juliana Martinez, advocate in the Family Violence Division of the Dallas County Criminal District Attorney's Office, will moderate and answer your questions about sexual violence. From the definition of consent and Texas law on sexual violence to what is "gray rape" and the rape culture, Martinez will talk about sexual violence that is relevant to every college student. We hope that the discussion will help UD better define its definition of personal and sexual violence and create a more active role in changing this unfortunate reality.

Guy Talk – The Elephant in the Room: A Man's role in Sexual Violence

April 8 | 7:00 p.m. | Gregory Hall Lounge | Man food will be served

Associate Professor of Psychology Gilbert Garza will discuss how sexual violence is an issue that affects everyone, including men. While men may not often speak about their roles and experiences with sexual assault, they do have a lot to say. From processing the unspoken narratives of men and boys who experience sexual assault to acknowledging the alarming number of men who commit acts of sexual violence to uncovering the countless men who stand up against the rape culture, men's experiences with sexual violence are many times thought of as "the elephant in the room." Join in a discussion with Garza and add a male perspective and voice to the importance of ending sexual violence at UD and beyond.

Girl Talk – Be Strong: From the Inside Out

April 8 | 7:00 p.m. | Jerome Hall Lounge | Dainty desserts will be provided

Come join four students as they share their personal sexual assault stories. The student panel will also answer questions related to their experiences. Marti Jewell, School of Ministry professor, will explore the impact and effects of when the dignity of a person is violated, as well as empower women with the tools to help make campus a safer place. You will be inspired and empowered to take action.

Prayer Vigil

April 15 | 7:30 p.m. | Church of the Incarnation

Join the UD community and Crusaders for Life as we pray for survivors.

Made In His Image

April 23 | 7:00 p.m. |Lynch Auditorium

Maura Byrne, founder of Made in His Image, an organization dedicated to offering hope and healing for women recovering from abuse, will share her own story and inspire women to turn from victim to survivor, while uncovering the stigma related to getting help in the journey of healing. This event is co-sponsored with Campus Ministry.

Ribbon and Denim – Solidarity Day

April 23 | All Day | Campus Wide

Wear denim to show your support for survivors of sexual violence. What is Denim Day? In 1999, the Italian High Court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans at the time of her assault. The justices stated that the victim must have helped her attacker remove her jeans, from which they inferred consent. People all over the world were outraged. Wearing jeans on this anniversary has become an international symbol to protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual violence. Sexual Assault Awareness ribbon stickers will be available on the table outside of the SALC on April 22. Let's join together in solidarity to make a social statement by wearing jeans and an awareness sticker as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions about women's clothing as it pertains to personal and sexual assault.

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