Campus News

Sexual assault awareness month sparks creative events from student organizations

Two UW-Madison student organizations, including We’re Better Than That, are taking advantage of national Sexual Assault Awareness Month by running campaigns throughout April surrounding issues of sexual violence.Two UW-Madison student organizations, including We’re Better Than That, are taking advantage of national Sexual Assault Awareness Month by running campaigns throughout April surrounding issues of sexual violence.

Image By: Courtesy of We're Better Than That-Men Against Sexu and Courtesy of We're Better Than That-Men Against Sexual Assault

Several UW-Madison student organizations are looking to raise awareness of sexual violence throughout April, national Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Two organizations on campus—Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment and We’re Better Than That—are addressing the sensitive topics that surround sexual assault through student activism.

WBTT Incoming Students Committee Leader Rachel Nicolaison is running the “Share Your Why” campaign, which aims to create open conversations on sexual assault through personal storytelling.

“We want people to get more of the personal touch which is often missing from the conversation,” Nicolaison said. “People talk about sexual assault logistically with the ‘one in four,’ but we want to put stories to those numbers.”

The campaign launched with the online hashtag “#shareyourwhy” and will continue throughout the month with drop boxes for students to write and read personal letters on why they feel it is important to have a voice in the discussion of sexual assault.

The boxes will be put in several locations on campus, including Helen C. White Library and both student unions beginning Tuesday.

Journals will also be placed in several campus hot spots including Espresso Royale and Allen Centennial Gardens. Additionally, there is a link to Tumblr on the WBTT Facebook page for students to share stories online.

“The entries are encouraged to be anonymous,” Nicolaison said. “We are hoping the personal writing, thoughts and responses will create a new dialogue for students on campus.”

PAVE will be hosting multiple events throughout the month to inform and support students who have experienced sexual assault or want to learn more about it.

Marissa Dempsey, PAVE communications coordinator, said the outreach done in April for SAAM is a great opportunity for students to understand the effects sexual assault can have on loved ones and to better know how to support them.

“It’s important because the issue is getting more coverage and in more ears and makes people recognize issues right here on campus,” Dempsey said. “Instead of feeling scared or unsure, they can feel some agency to be an activist and an ally.”

Other resources available to students during April include University Health Services End Violence on Campus, which will have trained members from their violence prevention and victim advocacy team attending events for additional services and support.

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