April 14, 2008

Sacramento State springs into action to support
Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The month of April typically is associated with spring weather and new beginnings. But April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month, bringing awareness to an issue of particular concern to the University.

At a college campus, where an estimated one in five women will be a victim of sexual assault in their college career, it’s an important topic to address, says director of the Women’s Resource Center Patricia Grady, who is helping sponsor the events.

“Raising awareness is the primary issue,” Grady says. “We want women and men to be aware of sexual assault and what they can do to prevent it.”

Sacramento State’s “Women Take Back the Night” event will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 17 in the University Union Hinde Auditorium. Speakers include a member from the campus community who is a survivor of sexual assault, along with executive director of Women Escaping a Violent Environment (WEAVE), Beth Hassett. A rally-walk will follow the speaker presentations, and Glow-in-the-dark “No Woman Left Behind” bracelets will be distributed at the event.

Male Sacramento State students will have the opportunity to show their support by donning high heels at the annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” from noon to 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 22 in the library quad. “It’s a way for men to publicly stand up against sexual violence,” says Jessica Heskin, victim advocate for Violence and Sexual Assault Support Services.

According to www.walkamileinhershoes.org, 81 “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” events are scheduled throughout the nation for 2008.

The entire campus community is encouraged to support Sexual Assault Awareness Month with “Jeans for Justice Day on the Quad” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 23 in the Library Quad. Various community and campus organizations will have booths and information available about sexual violence issues. The “Clothesline Project,” a display of T-shirts with student messages and violence accounts written on them, is among some of the planned interactive events for the day.

While the topic of sexual assault and violence is a serious issue, Heskin hopes that taking a fun and creative approach will encourage student participation and help build awareness.

“It’s a fun, creative way to get students out to the events and for them to gain awareness about sexual violence,” Heskin says. “If I can get one person to change their mind about sexual violence or bystander behavior and actions, I would be happy.”

For more information on Sacramento State’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, contact Jessica Heskin at (916) 278-3799, Patricia Grady at 916-278-7388. For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.