Image via Holly Leibhart, an advocate for Hope and Healing
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Several campus organizations have created events during this month to build awareness and provide resources to The University of Akron students, faculty, staff, and administrators surrounding the topic.
The organizations who planned the events are Hope and Healing Survivor Resource Center, CASA (Coalition Against Sexual Assault) and SAVE (Sexual Assault and Violence Education).
Hope and Healing is comprised of two non-profit organizations: the Battered Women’s Shelter and the Rape Crisis Center. CASA is a student organization with a mission to educate, advocate, and stop sexual violence. SAVE is an on-campus organization that aims to educate and offer services to students, with the organization’s end goal being to prevent sexual violence.
“The SAVE team encourages every Zip on campus including students, faculty, staff, administrators to be empowered to end sexual violence, this means being an active bystander when you see a potentially dangerous situation, creating a culture of respect by encouraging consent and calling out victim blaming behavior and offering support to peers affected by sexual violence,” said Kelsea Daniluk, EEO/AA Specialist from Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.
Some events the organizations have planned for April include Messages to Survivors Event, Start Believing Day, Wear Teal Event, Plinko with prizes, and bar outreaches throughout the month.
“We are a group of University of Akron undergraduate and graduate students dedicated and passionate about providing a platform for sexual assault survivors to reclaim their power, advocation for change and empowering populations disproportionately affected by sexual violence,” said Kayla Huff, CASA member.
On April 27, Denim Day will help raise money for the cause. Information will be available at the Take Back the Night table, and the day will end with the Take Back the Night Walk.
“Getting students involved in these activities is incredibly important to create a healthy culture on campus. Sexual assault affects 18-24 year olds at even higher rates than the general population, so giving the issue a voice and bringing awareness can make survivors feel supported and help in the prevention of sexual assault,” Elissa Hines Campus Direct Service Advocate Hope & Healing Survivor Resource Center said. “Students care about stopping sexual assault, so giving them an outlet to express that and informing them are ways we encourage a culture of consent.”
If you are unable to participate in these events, there is still an option to participate through donations organized by the SAVE team. Requested donation items consist of self-care items, fidget toys, coloring books, Black hair care products, and school supplies. You can find donation boxes located at The University of Akron Jean Howard Taber Student Union.
“I would humbly add that I also believe it is important during the month of April and also through the entire year to take proactive steps to ensure the safest possible community,” Michael Strong, Dean of Students said. “We all have a role to play and together we can make a difference, a meaningful difference.”