April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the United States. This is an awareness campaign recognized across the country in schools and communities to inform people of the prevalence of this problem, offer prevention education, and give vital resources for help.

Sexual assault (also referred to as rape or sexual violence) is when a person is forced, coerced or manipulated into participating in a sexual act to which they have not freely consented.

1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college (NSVRC, National Sexual Violence Resource Center) and 1 out of 10 victims are male (RAINN, Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network).

Some incidents of sexual assault may be preventable:

  1. When we are alert to and plan for safety, on campus, in social situations or among other settings.
  2. Utilizing verbal and physical strategies for protecting ourselves such as what will be discussed and demonstrated at our VIRTUAL EMPOWERMENT SELF-DEFENSE WORKSHOP on Wednesday, April 28, from 5:30 to 6:30pm PST. DENIM DAY, a day designated 22 years ago following a landmark legal case for us to stand wearing jeans in solidarity with sexual assault survivors.
  3. Implementing these tips to try if someone is pressuring us to do something that we don’t want to do.
  4. Understanding how to give consent and receive consent with regard to sexual activity.
  5. When we see something that doesn’t seem right, there are simple ways to step in and do something.

In the unfortunate instance that a sexual assault could not be prevented, we can still help a friend who has been assaulted:

  1. Listen without judgement.
  2. Remind them they aren’t to be blamed.
  3. Help connect them with resources.

If you have been assaulted:

  1. If you are in immediate danger, or if you see, hear, or suspect someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911 in the United States or police / public safety in your country.
  2. This shouldn’t have happened to you and it isn’t your fault.
  3. It is hard to know what to do or what the options Please know that you aren’t alone, reach out for support.
  4. Search for non-emergency support such as assistance, counseling, or advocacy in your local community from more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers.
  5. Contact a support staff or faculty member at UWest who you have a relationship with and trust to care, or Wellness Center mental health therapist April Afoa or Chief Student Services Officer and Title IX Coordinator Vanessa Karam.