Trigger Warning: Sexual assault
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an opportunity to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. If you’re reading this, you probably care about survivors and want to learn how best to support them this month. Here are six steps you can take to foster a caring environment and combat rape culture on and off-campus.
- Listen to, believe, and support survivors you know—including yourself.
Far and away, the most important thing you can do this SAAM is supporting the survivors in your life. Listen to them, and tell them that you believe them. You might be the first person to tell them that. And those three words—”I believe you”—can be the difference between a survivor standing alone and feeling a sense of solidarity from their loved ones.
- Participate in the denim day installation in the George Sherman Union.
Head down to the GSU to find a board where you can add a denim patch with a message of support to survivors as part of a project by the CGSA (Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism), SARP (Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center), 16,000 Strong, and It’s On Us. Don’t forget to wear denim on April 28th in honor of Denim Day!
- Donate to local survivor-led organizations.
- Join on-campus groups fighting rape culture.
16,000 Strong is the BU Student Government Committee dedicated to educating, empowering, and uniting against sexual assault, and It’s On Us—BU is our chapter of a national organization dedicated to fighting sexual violence. You can apply to join 16k as a general member anytime, or to the E-Board until April 18th. As for It’s On Us, general meetings are on Wednesday at 6 p.m., and they’re inviting you to join them for a few SAAM events.
- Support @campus.survivors
Campus Survivors is an Instagram account dedicated to sharing survivors’ stories. Any message of support on a survivor’s story likely means a lot to them and reminds the organizers that the community stands behind them. Join the Discord for updates about protests and Provost meetings, and remember that this is a very small, survivor-led group that is taking on a huge task.
- Commit to calling out rape culture in your own life.
Stop excusing it when you see it, step in when things feel wrong, and start demanding and creating safer spaces for survivors.