It’s Sexual Awareness Month & Pitt Wants You to Pay Attention

Sexual violence on college campuses is a problem that affects just about every single student either directly or indirectly. The statistics are alarming. Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. Among graduate and professional students, 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. If these statistics were applied to Pitt’s campus, approximately 3,560 female and 716 male students have experienced sexual violence on the Pittsburgh campus alone. Unfortunately, according to a national AAU survey in 2015, it’s estimated that one in four students experience some type of sexual misconduct during their time at Pitt, which is higher than the statistical average by nearly 10%.

As news events continue to drive a national dialogue, sexual assault and violence is a prevalent topic amongst students. Sexual misconduct affects a student’s ability to survive and succeed in and out of the classroom. Trauma can be overwhelming and consuming. For the next two weeks, Pitt will be holding events to support survivors and spread awareness around campus.

From April 1 to April 10, Pitt is holding events to raise awareness for the prevalence of sexual assault on our campus. The schedule is as follows:

Monday, April 1

Survivor Slam: Assault Survivor Story Exhibition, 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the WPU Lower Lounge

Tuesday, April 2

Bystander Intervention Training, 9 - 10 p.m. in the WPU Lower Lounge

Friday, April 5

Here to Help: Resource and Self Care Fair, 2:30 - 5 p.m. in the Quad (rain location: Towers lobby)

Tuesday, April 9

Candlelight Vigil in Support of Survivors, 7 - 8 p.m. in the WPU Lower Lounge

Wednesday, April 10

Roll Red Roll Screening followed by a panel discussion, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. in WPU 548

In my opinion, the most important part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and these activities is to let students know that they’re not alone. As Chancellor Gallagher wrote to students earlier in the school year, “While the challenges are big, the stakes are even higher. How we respond to this topic says a lot about our values as individuals and as a society. And how we respond as a university says everything about our values as an institution.” Although discussion sexual assault on our campus cannot undo the damage that has already been done, it can show that we, as a community, will not stand for this behavior. There are various resources on Pitt’s campus including the SHARE office at Student Health and Title IX that are equipped to help you or answer any questions that you might have.


Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Photos: 1, Courtesy of Carrie Benson from Title IX at Pitt