By: Emily Lingenfelter ~Staff Writer~
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign brought to the Xavier community through a series of events sponsored by local clubs and organizations during the month of April.
A key goal of the movement is to educate students about prevention measures for sexual violence.
A study by Hill & Silva (2005) reported that nearly two-thirds of college students in the United States experience harassment, and less than 10 percent of the victims tell a college or university employee.
According to Kate Lawson, Xavier’s Title IX Coordinator, limiting the problem is possible through dynamic participation and communication.
“Sexual violence impacts all of us, and together we have the power to end it,” Lawson said. “(Conversation) must engage the vast majority of students in healthy sexual and interpersonal relationships so that they can live and lead our outreach, education and prevention efforts as active bystanders.”
The movement informally began in the 1970s when a non-profit organization known as “Take Back the Night” organized its first marching protest against rape and sexual assault. Similar events were coordinated throughout the nation, and SAAM became recognized as a national campaign in April 2001. President Barack Obama was the first President of the United States to formally kick off the campaign in 2009 and continues to deliver the proclamation each year.
“We can change our culture for the better by standing together against the quiet tolerance of sexual assault and refusing to accept the unacceptable,” Obama said in reference to SAAM 2015 on April 1 at the White House.
Xavier students interested in participating in SAAM can attend events such as the “Take Back the Night” march and candlelight vigil at 6:30 p.m. on April 23 at the Cincinnatus Statue at Sawyer Point.
On “1 in 5 Day” students will place flags on the Xavier Yard to symbolize the one-in-five women who experience sexual assault during their college years.
There will also be various movie screenings and discussions, such as the “Sexual Violence in LGBT Communities and Relationships,” a conversation led by the Buckeye Regional Anti-Violence Organization, and “My Masculinity Helps,” a documentary dealing with the influence of African American men in preventing sexual violence.
For more information on SAAM, visit http://www.nsvrc.org/saam.
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