Sexual Assault Awareness Month ’17

April has been recognized nationally as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) since 2001. In the past 16 years, great strides have been made in educating the public about what constitutes as sexual assault and the necessity of mutual consent. However, there is still work that needs to be done.

Donald Trump, who has denied innumerable sexual assault allegations despite irrefutable evidence, recognized this in a painfully ironic statement to which the internet responded with a resounding WTF. The way in which we discuss the issue has perpetuated victim-blaming. We ask questions like “What were you wearing?,” “Were you drinking?,”  “Did you lead the assailant on?”. This is evident in cases like Trump’s physical and verbal violations against women and less publicized cases on college campuses. The questions that we should be asking include: “What can we do to change the entitlement to another person’s body that rape culture creates?” and “How can this change begin with my own actions?”.

We have all heard the statistics about the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses. But not all of us choose to act on these numbers. Sigma Chi’s Derby Days, a week-long philanthropy event benefitting the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center, just concluded but there are plenty of other opportunities to get involved and become an ally for sexual assault survivors.

LMU Cares is sponsoring several events on campus including the Clothesline Project 2017, Denim Day, and SAAM Slam. Visit their Facebook page for the details of each event.

It is important to note that sexual assault is not exclusively a female issue. However, conversations about gender and events empowering women contribute to creating a social culture that eliminates the mindset that people and bodies are something to be obtained. ASLMU is hosting #GirlBossWeek from April 17-21 with several events like The Power of Women Panel, Girl Boss Q&A with Gina Rodriguez, and Third Thursday. More information can be found on their Facebook page.

I Am That Girl, a non-profit organization that encourages young women to transform self-doubt into confidence by speaking their truths, created a four week long curriculum to help college students recognize sexual assault at its base definitions and overcome the bystander effect. The education program aims to empower members of IATG by equipping them with the necessary information to combat the effects of rape culture. LMU’s chapter will have meetings every Wednesday of the month at 8PM. For more information, join their Facebook page.