April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and gives campus an opportunity to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Affecting millions of Americans each year, sexual assault is a broad term that includes physical, sexual and family violence, stalking and psychological harm. Awareness initiatives will be taking place across the nation to raise awareness, promote prevention, and prompt appropriate responses to sexual assault.
Data from U.S. crime reports suggest that about 1 in 5 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. Additionally, over half of female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by a current or former male partner. Sexual assaults are devastating and often deadly. It is never the victim’s fault.
Throughout the month of April, the Center for Student Wellness (CSW) will host a variety of events ranging from workshops and educational panels to social media games and giveaways.
History of activism against violence
The early 1970s brought an increased awareness of sexual violence in America, following the trend of civil rights and anti-war social activism. In 1971 the Bay Area Women Against Rape organization set a national precedent by opening the first Rape Crisis Center, offering victim support services. By the end of the decade, Take Back the Night marches rallied women in organized protests against sexual assault. By the 1980s, Domestic Violence Awareness (DVA) activists and the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) began coordinating activities and events to promote awareness and education on sexual violence.
In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed. This was the first federal regulation mandating law enforcement approach gender violence as a crime rather than a private family matter. VAWA was designed to strengthen legal protections for victims of domestic and sexual violence and to expand services for survivors and children. In 2001, NSVRC coordinated the first nationally recognized Sexual Assault Awareness Month and 2009, President Barack Obama officially proclaimed April as SAAM.
A letter from the 2021 SAAM co-chairs
Dear University of Utah Campus Community,
We hope this letter finds you well and in good spirits! This last year has been one of many unforeseen events and we should all congratulate each other for surviving (and thriving where we can). This year offers us the opportunity to rise above difficult times, forge new friendships and foster ongoing ones. In the spirit of building community and awareness, the Center for Student Wellness is sponsoring the Sexual Assault Awareness Month throughout April on the University of Utah campus.
As co-chairs of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, our goal is to spread awareness about sexual assault and provide support to survivors. We recognize the importance of providing resources—both on and off campus—for survivors, as well as listening to and believing them. So often their voices are drowned out, their experiences ignored. That is why we dedicate this month to listening to survivors and their experiences and giving them the space to talk.
CSW supports survivors year-round through our Victim Survivor Advocacy program. Our work shows us time and again that listening to survivors empowers them. This led us to this year’s SAAM theme, Listening. Giving survivors a chance to share their experiences and feelings is very important. We hope people will take the time and listen to their stories and to help further empower survivors.
We will be hosting virtual workshops, panels, giveaways, and opportunities to socially connect. #UofUSAAM is a time to learn, grow, and practice newly acquired skillsets.
We encourage you to find common ground among our campus community, explore your individual positionality, intersectionality and engage with us. We are only as strong as our most vulnerable, so reach out and be a part of something bigger, grander and with infinite possibilities. Please use the following hashtags to follow along and join our efforts online: #UListenToSurvivors #UofUSAAM #USAAM2021
Elnaz Tahmassebi & Maureen Meyer
2021 Sexual Assault Awareness Month Co-Chairs
Center for Student Wellness
Register for any or all of the weeks Zoom events here.
SAAM Kickoff Event via Zoom| 2:30 p.m.
Compassionate Responses to Disclosures of IPV Workshop | 2 p.m.
"Queering the Conversation" is a psychoeducational workshop seeking to break down barriers to queer dating education by engaging participants in dialogue about the signs of healthy/unhealthy queer relationships.
In this one night event from the Mindfulness Center, participants will learn a variety of effective and practical skills to identify signs of an unhealthy queer relationship while also learning valuable skills, rooted in psychological research, to help foster healthy queer relationships. Participants will learn mindfulness-based techniques specifically to help handle conflict in relationships. Queering the Conversation is open to all students, staff and faculty of the University of Utah. For more information, please email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
To attend, all participants must register using this separate registration form.
Challenging Rape Culture Workshop | 2 p.m.
STI Awareness Week Event: Sexually Transmitted Infections: Myths, History, Communication and Resources | 5 p.m.
April 1 – April 14
Victim-Survivor Care Package Fund Drive
The Center for Student Wellness and Bennion Center Scholars are running a fund drive to raise money for victim-survivor care packages. Our goal is to raise $900 dollars to create 50 care packages. Each package will include items that may help ground and comfort a survivor: blanket, essential oils, chocolate, a fidget toy and a supportive note from a community member. Folks who want to support can donate via the CSW donate page and adding the note “SAAM” to the special instructions field.
- Tier 1 | $3 | Chocolate and Essential Oil
- Tier 2 | $10 | Blanket
- Tier 3 | $15 | Blanket and Fidget Toy
- Tier 4 | $20 | Entire package