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NSU Violence Prevention observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Published 4/11/17

Madeline Jurus

TNE Writer

Throughout this month, NSU will observe April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month the campus will present multiple events dedicated to educating and spreading awareness for sexual assault both on and off campus.

“What I would like for students to get out of this month is to know there’s resources available on campus if you ever find yourself in this kind of situation,” said Jennifer Cole-Robinson, coordinator of the violence prevention project at NSU.

On April 11, Dr. Steve Turner, NSU president, signed a proclamation declaring April to be Sexual Assault Awareness Month on campus at 3:30 p.m. in the Redbud Room of the UC. The proclamation is now displayed on campus following the ceremony.

There will also be a Survivor’s Panel at 8 p.m., April 12 in the Webb Auditorium.

“We have four ladies coming to share their sexual assault stories and how the system succeeded or failed in helping them achieve justice, the victim blaming they went through and why they did or did not choose to come forward,” said Robinson.

Other events being put on for Sexual Assault Awareness Month include a Take Back the Night Rally and a Clothes Line T-shirt design project. Students can contact Cole-Robinson to receive a free T-shirt to design for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. These shirts will be displayed around campus throughout the month of April.

“I would like tell students who have been through events like this please come and talk to me,” said Robinson. “I will do everything that I can to try to make that situation as supportive as possible. I will do everything that I can to make sure they are aware of their rights here on campus, and the first step is just coming forward and talking to someone who will believe and support you regardless of what happened and what you think led to this.”

NSU Violence Prevention is located in the Leoser Complex next to the Housing Office. HawkReach counseling is also available to anyone who has or is dealing with trauma following an incident of sexual assault.

“At NSU we want to fully support students and their decision on what they want to do in the wake of this kind of situation,” said Karla LeBlanc, HawkReach student counselor. “If they choose to report it or not, we will honor that decision and do everything that we can to make sure this campus is safe for our students.”

The final activity of the month is a showing of “Thelma and Louise” at 7 p.m., April 25 in the Webb Auditorium and is put on by It’s On Us. It’s On Us is a group of students and faculty at NSU with a mission of ending sexual assault on college campuses.

“It’s On Us is a cultural movement aimed at fundamentally shifting the way we think and talk about sexual assault,” said Tyler Warrior, Eufaula junior and founder of the NSU It’s On Us group.

It’s On Us started in November 2016. The campaign works to reframe the conversation surrounding sexual assault in a way that empowers, educates and engages college students to work to prevent it.

“Sexual assault is not going away, and when we become inaudible to other people’s struggles and what they’ve gone through, we really are causing more harm than good,” said Warrior. “I hope to inspire our generation and younger generations to step in and take action whenever it comes to sexual assault.”

Sexual assault on college campuses is often brushed under the rug, and the stigma surrounding it can lead many victims to stay silent about their ordeals. It is important for people to facilitate conversations surrounding sexual assault. As long as people remain silent on the problem, there will be no solution.

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