Sexual assault is constantly in the news the stories are endless. Last week, an 18-year-old was jailed for impregnating a teenage girl. On the same day, a college student was sentenced to jail for having sexual intercourse with an underage classmate. These crimes may not have made headlines internationally but they were all done by the people that the victims had personally known.
Recently, colleges have started out prevention programs to curb the rising number of sexual assault cases. These programs have been funded and implemented through fundraising events and are even inserted into orientation programs during freshman year. Their aim is to encourage students to act when they notice a potential assault situation unfolding and is one way, that colleges are wrestling to improve personal safety.
In April 2016, the Student Advocacy Resource Center at the University of Montana held events to raise awareness on sexual assault. This year alone, the SARC has conducted 50 trainings on bystander intervention. A second event held by the SARC was also in April where students read poems in support of sexual assault survivors. It is necessary colleges expand these types of events during the entire year not just in April. It is necessary we understand that sexual assault occurs during the entire year not just in spring.
What a fantastic country that we live in. In the month of April, throughout the United States, it is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. And what a great month to have. Sexual Assault Awareness Month was established to give college students and the wider community a voice in being proactive towards prevention and education of sexual assault, using positive approaches for change.
This month, across College campuses in the United States, there are many exciting opportunities for male and female students to get involved in. Many colleges are to be applauded for getting on-board with this vital step for change, and students are able to get involved in S.A.A.M in a variety of different ways.
Male and female students can advocate for change on campus by participation in: student rallies, training, healing sessions, and lots more. Simply ask your campus representative for further information. You can also host a community event throughout the month of April, in order to raise awareness of sexual assault.
There are many exciting opportunities to get your voice heard this month – Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and to work together as men and women, to build towards a better future for all.
No matter where we are in the world, we have to be aware of our surroundings. The harsh reality is that even sometimes in the comfort of our own homes, or when we are with our friends having a good time, sexual assault situations can occur in a blink of an eye.
But how can we address the issue in different environments? It can get kind of tricky if you are away from home and something awful happens to you or someone you know. The people that you thought you can turn to in this kind of situation may be hundreds of thousands of miles away and you can’t reach them as quickly as you could if you were in the same state.
Attacks can occur at any time, and although it would be horrible if someone were a victim of sexual assault, it would be even worse if they were in a place that they were not familiar with. We need to be prepared for these type of situations and talk about ways to address issues that could happen.
Make sure that you are aware of your surroundings at all times. Never put yourself in a position were you are feeling vulnerable. You are in control.
Trust those you’re hanging out with enough to enjoy yourself. I am not saying that you need to have your guard up 100 percent of the time. What I am saying is go out with people that you have fun with but people that also will not let you get into shady situations. They should have your back!
Above all, have a good judgment of the environment you’re in. I know that bad things can happen when you least expect it but if you have a bad vibe, obviously don’t go into the house or club or wherever it may be. Just play it safe and don’t get involved into something sketchy. It’s not worth it.
You may not be able to control everything in your life, but you can control how aware you are. Stay aware of sexual assault prevention so you can help those suffering and to learn tips of what to do in certain situations.