This month’s “Sexual Assault Awareness” theme is designed to open the eyes of many students with events around campus to raise awareness. Many organizations, such as Students Against Sexual Violence, the Campus Violence Prevention Program (CVPP) and the Women’s Resources and Research Center (WRRC), will be sponsoring the month’s events.
A viewing of the film Searching for Angela Shelton will be shown today at 8 p.m. in 123 Science Lecture. The film reveals the journey of a filmmaker named Angela Shelton who travels the United States in search of other Angela Sheltons and discovers that 24 out of the 40 Sheltons had been raped, beaten or molested.
“It’s really important for women to watch this film and that we create a community of women on campus where they feel comfortable enough to talk about these issues, like Angela Shelton did in the film,” said Courtney Laliberte, a volunteer for CVPP who helped organize the event.
This film is the first event for the month and one of various films that will be presented. Included in the month’s activities is a film festival with topic-related documentaries and films put on by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center that will last from Apr. 14 to 16.
Also starting Apr. 14 at 5 p.m. will be a free women’s self-defense workshop by the WRRC where women of all ages can learn simple techniques to help increase their security.
All students and faculty, both men and women, are encouraged to attend the events throughout the month.
“The more people we can make aware about sexual assault, the sooner the problem will be eliminated,” said Kingsley Grafft, vice president of Students Against Sexual Violence and founder of Greeks Against Sexual Assault.
Grafft believes that the UC Davis community can benefit from an eye-opening month to bring awareness to sexual assault.
“Sexual Assault Awareness Month provides us with the opportunity to come together as a campus community to promote awareness, present people with resources and actively work towards ending sexual assault on our campus. I truly believe that once the students know the facts, they will stand up if they see a potentially dangerous or compromising situation,” Grafft said.
Grafft helped plan the “Airing Out UC Davis’ Dirty Laundry” event for Apr. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house and cosponsored by Kappa Alpha Theta. Participants can have the chance to make a T-shirt proclaiming that they have survived a sexual assault or dedicate a shirt to a loved one or friend who has.
The Silent Survivor Project will occur Apr. 21 to 25 beginning 11 a.m. on the Quad and is an awareness campaign that focuses on domestic homicide. Silhouettes will be displayed to let each survivor tell their story.
The final event and one that Shauna Stratton, Student Programming and Outreach Coordinator for CVPP, hopes will have a huge turnout is “Women Take Back the Night” on May 6 at 6:10 p.m. on the East Quad.
“Last year, only about 200 people showed up, and I think that’s really sad considering the amount of people on campus,” Stratton said.
This 27th annual event will include musical performances, a march through Davis, a candlelight vigil and a survivor speak-out.
“This isn’t just a women’s issue, but a people’s issue … we want to raise awareness about the issues but also give people tools to end sexual assault,” Stratton said.
Stratton became involved with prevention and awareness of sexual assault after the age of 18 when she left a girl at a party that she believes was most likely raped.
“It’s important to know that when you are at a party to look out for not only your friends, but other people around you. Most people feel they are powerless in these situations, but if they keep their eyes open, assault may be prevented,” Stratton said.
For a complete list of events throughout the month, go to cvpp.ucdavis.edu/saam.htm. If you would like to share a survivor story to be read at “Women Take Back the Night,” contact email@example.com.
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.XXX