Support sexual assault survivors

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

How to get the most out of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

As part of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, UC Davis organizations are hosting various on-campus events to raise awareness of sexual assault and harassment, provide survivors with safe spaces where they can learn about available resources and give students the opportunity to show their support for survivors of sexual assault.

Sexual assault is incredibly prevalent within the University of California (UC) system. Just last month, The Daily Californian reported that at least 124 UC employees have been accused of sexual harassment and violence since 2013. UC Regent Norman Pattiz was accused last year of sexual harassment.

However, the UC system has recently taken strides toward preventing sexual violence and harassment. As a result of Pattiz’s sexual harassment, the UC Board of Regents implemented a policy that requires regents to undergo sexual harassment prevention training. The UC also hired its first-ever Title IX coordinator, whose role is to work against sexual harassment and violence among the 10 UC campuses.

UC Davis students are also working toward ending sexual violence and harassment. Several ASUCD senate candidates ran on sexual assault prevention and awareness platforms this year. For example, ASUCD Senator Anastasia Ruttkay, who was elected during Fall Quarter, is working to create a sexual assault prevention chairperson in UC Davis Greek chapter houses.

The Editorial Board applauds these efforts but recognizes that more work regarding sexual assault prevention and awareness must be done.

The Editorial Board also encourages students to publicly support survivors of sexual assault or sexual harassment. Interested students can participate in a number of activities, such as the Dear Survivor Photo Project, in which individuals can write letters to survivors they personally know or survivors of the campus community as a whole. The Center for Advocacy Resources and Education (CARE) is hosting numerous events this month as well, such as Take Back the Night, which, according to the Facebook event page, is “an annual event that aims to support survivors of sexual violence, raise awareness and promote action within our community to end sexual and gender-based violence.” Showing support for sexual violence or harassment survivors can even be as easy as wearing jeans on Denim Day or attending the Sexual Assault Awareness & Advocacy Committee’s screening of The Hunting Ground, a documentary about rape culture on college campuses, on April 13 in the Sciences Lecture Hall at 7:30 p.m.

The Editorial Board urges students who need support to utilize on-campus resources, such as the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response website, CARE, the Harassment and Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program, the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs and the UC Davis Police Department.

Remember, this month was designed to give a voice to those who have been silenced. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual violence or harassment, you deserve to be heard.