Sacramento State's longstanding commitment to making the campus safe for everyone is being highlighted in April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which got underway March 28 with an opening ceremony and visit from the iconic Red Shoe. Among the speakers at the ceremony were President Robert S. Nelsen and representatives from the University’s Student Health and Counseling Services, Associated Students Inc. (ASI), and WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment).

The 9-foot-tall Red Shoe (about a size 114) is the symbol of "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes," a worldwide campaign that encourages men to demonstrate their stand against violence by tottering along a race course in high heels. WEAVE, which is home to Sacramento County’s only rape crisis center, expects 1,300 men to participate in the annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” fundraiser Saturday, April 23, on Capitol Mall. Event and registration information can be found at www.weaveinc.org.

Red Shoe eventASI President Melissa Bardo addresses the audience at the March 28 Red Shoe event alongside President Robert S. Nelsen, Jody Nelsen, and Beth Hassett, CEO of Women Escaping a Violent Environment (WEAVE). (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone) More photos

Sac State has been a leader in sexual violence awareness, prevention, and victim advocacy for many years. The University’s commitment to keeping the campus a safe place to study, live, and work is detailed in the “We Care. We Will Help” campaign at www.csus.edu/titleix.

“Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an opportunity to bring more attention to the issue of sexual violence, which affects so many of us,” says Reva Wittenberg, associate director of campus wellness for Student Health and Counseling Services. “Nationally, one in five women experience sexual assault while in college. Men also experience sexual assault, and the LGBTQ population is particularly at risk. Most survivors never tell anyone or get the support they need, and this can seriously impact their academic success as well as other areas of their lives.

“We need to break the silence around this issue, end victim-blaming, and create a community of active bystanders who will take action to prevent violence before it starts.”

Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Wittenberg adds, is a forum for engaging the campus community in these important conversations and raising awareness of the support services the University offers.

“Sac State is committed to addressing this issue, providing victim-centered support, and creating a safe community where our students can succeed and thrive,” she says.

In line with that commitment, the University offers a full slate of events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, including Take Back the Night, Denim Day, and a "Men Who Ask" Workshop. Here’s the lineup:

“Shatter the Silence,” 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 4, Courtyard Market at American River Courtyard. Students will learn the facts of sexual assault and create a banner that shows support for survivors. Presented by the Residence Hall Association

Sign the “It’s On Us” Pledge, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, April 4, Library Quad. In 2014, President Barack Obama launched the “It’s On Us” initiative, an awareness campaign to help put an end to sexual assault on college campuses. Lauren Lombardo, then-president of ASI, signed the White House pledge on behalf of Sacramento State. Students are invited to stop by the Library Quad and sign the “It’s On Us” pledge. Presented by ASI and Student Health and Counseling Services.

“Let's Get Real, Talk About Teal,” 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, Wellness Hub at the University Union, and 6 p.m. Thursday, April 28, American River Courtyard large conference room. Teal is the official color of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This wellness workshop will focus on conversations about sexual assault, including bystander intervention and how to support survivors of sexual assault. Presented by Student Health and Counseling Services and Peer Health Educators.

15th annual Sac State Take Back the Night, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, Library Quad. Will include a roundtrip march to the residence halls to raise awareness of sexual violence and to encourage the campus community’s commitment to activism. Presented by Peer Health Educators and ASI.

Self-Defense Workshop, 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, The WELL (membership required).

Denim Day at Sac State, Wednesday, April 27. The campus community is encouraged to wear denim as part of a national campaign to draw attention to misconceptions surrounding sexual assault. Denim Day was created after the Italian Supreme Court in 1998 overturned a rape conviction and ruled that the victim implied consent when she helped her attacker remove her tight jeans. Women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans to work the following day to show solidarity with the victim. The court later overturned its “denim defense.” #DenimDay

“Men Who Ask” workshop, 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 28, The WELL’s Terrace Suite. Sac State fraternity men discuss their pledge to end sexual violence against women. In 2014, the Women’s Resource Center created the “Men Who Ask” campaign to allow fraternity members to take an active role in preventing sexual assault. Some men also volunteered for bystander intervention training. Presented by the Women’s Resource Center.

Social Justice Coffee Hour: Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault, 3 p.m. Thursday, May 5, Multi-Cultural Center. Learn how to support sexual-assault survivors and about self-care techniques. Presented by the Multi-Cultural Center and Student Health and Counseling Services.

Students who have questions or concerns can learn more about campus support options on the “We Care. We Will Help” website, as well as at the Student Health and Counseling Services website, https://shcssacstate.org.

Confidential support and advocacy services are available 24 hours a day for victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking.

For confidential support during regular business hours, call Student Health and Counseling Services, (916) 278-6461. For confidential support after hours, call WEAVE, (916) 920-2952. – Dixie Reid