Sexual Assault Awareness Month will be observed across campus during the first full week of April. Teal ribbons will be hung around campus on April 3 to help spread awareness and kick off the week of activities and events.
The theme for this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month is “Embrace Your Voice,” according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Kristi Edwards, assistant professor of criminal justice, said, “Now, more than ever, everyone needs to take the time to recognize the significant impact that sexual violence has on all of us. And, at Newman, we need to come together and raise awareness to enable everyone to embrace their voice. Our spirit of service and mission of empowering students to transform society are the perfect pairing for this campaign.”
An informal meeting was held on campus to explore options for helping raise awareness of this month and what it stands for. Representatives from student life, student support services, athletics, academics and international advisers were all present. Leading the meeting were members of the Justice League, Newman’s criminal justice student club, and Pi Gamma Mu, an international honor society in social sciences, who are working to collaborate with as many groups and clubs on campus as they can to further their reach.
A week full of informational activities has been planned by multiple organizations across campus.
When classes resume after Easter weekend, the teal ribbons signifying sexual violence awareness will be hung around campus along with signs providing specific resource contact information.
On Wednesday, April 4, students will be invited to visit with representatives from local advocacy agencies like Harbor House and the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center starting at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., Chief Deputy District Attorney of Sedgwick County Justin Edwards will speak about the prevalence of sexual violence and offer insight into ways we can stop the violence.
For lunch on Thursday, those interested are invited to attend a presentation by Karen Schmidt, a Newman alumna and the executive director of the Wichita Women’s Initiative Network. The event is hosted by Pi Gamma Mu and the Justice League who will provide pizza and Girl Scout Cookies for attendees.
The final event of the week will be Friday —with the “High Heel Trot” across campus taking place at noon. Afterward, there will be pizza and drinks in the quad. Anyone who would like to participate is welcome to bring some heels and tag along. Kristi Edwards said, “It will be an informal get-together, outside, to take advantage of the great weather and great company.”
Sexual violence is widespread and affects many individuals in some way or another. The goal for this week is to embrace the survivors and to raise awareness, gain knowledge and become empowered.
Kristi Edwards said, “Everyone at Newman needs to know that we will embrace them and that we have resources both on campus and in the greater community that can provide support. We cannot empower ourselves without knowledge, and this week is a unique opportunity to really learn about sexual violence.”