MSU supports Sexual Assault Awareness Month

It is Happening Right now

Every 3 minutes a woman is being raped.  Every 18 seconds a woman is being beaten.  1 in 4 women will be a victim of sexual assault during her academic years in college.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, SSAM.   The goal is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate others on how to prevent it.  Minnesota State University, Mankato has recognized the issue and is working for change.  This month MSU  is  putting on numerous events to raise awareness.

What is Sexual Assault?

According to Women’s Health Gov. sexual assault is any type of sexual activity you do not agree with, including:

  • inappropriate touching
  • vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
  • sexual intercourse you say no to
  • rape
  • attempted rape
  • child molestation

“Sexual assault, it can affect your sister, your mother,your friend, your cousin, your co-worker.  Its someone you know that has been abused.  Its physically, verbally, sexually.  Anything you encounter.  It’s not right and you are not to blame,” said VP philanthropy of Alpha Chi Omega, Shante Foote.

Foote works with her sorority and the Women’s Center to promote awareness to MSU’s campus.

College students like to keep private about sexual assault.  They get bashful and uncomfortable about the topic.  It is important for us to reach them because college students are victims of sexual assault all the time,” said Foote. 

How it affects college students

College can be the best time in your adult life.  You are released from under your parents wings and you get to fly on your own.  For many of us this freedom is new and exciting.  College students act invincible and carefree.

Sexual assault can change the best years of your life into a nightmare of fear and shame.  College woman are at a higher risk of sexual assault than their non-college-bound-peers. Not just women but college students in general are at a higher risk.

A majority of survivors of sexual assaults are full time students.  Roughly 1/3 are first year students between the ages of 17-19.  Rape is a sever case of sexual assault.  According to the national statistics about sexual violence 1 in 5 woman will be raped during their college years.  Approximately 85% of rapes are done by someone you know.

This  is why as an incoming college student you have to be careful who you put your trust in.  A recent study done by the National Institute of Justice breaks down who the people committing such hateful crimes are.  College student victims of rape know their attacks as:

  • Fellow classmates (35.5%)
  • Friends (34.2%)
  • Boyfriends of ex-boyfriends (23.7%)
  • Other acquiescence’s (2.65)

Nearly 60% of rapes occur in residents halls.  Students should educate themselves on the “date rape” drug.  It can be slipped into your drink when you are not looking.  It comes in a clear odorless liquid or a white powder.

There are many variations of the drug as in the ingredients.  This drug makes you physically helpless.   It makes you powerless against sexual attackers and can create memory loss.

Bars, house parties, or restaurants are all common places that college students hang out at.  You can help keep you and your friends protected by doing these simple things:

  • If you come as a group, leave as one
  • Never leave a drink unattended
  • Do not take open drinks.  If you are getting a drink from someone open it yourself
  • Watch out for one another, if you see symptoms of the date rape drug seek medical help

Closer to home

MSU is supporting SAAM by hosting a variety of events over the month.   The Women’s Center and the Violence Awareness and Response Program have teamed up to make a difference.  You can learn a lot right here on your campus.

Sexual assault is notorious for being under reported.  MSU is trying to break the silent when it comes to this issue. This month MSU is providing a varitey of events including:

  • The Clothing Line Project
  • Take Back the Night
  • Violence Free Training Zone
  • CADA Trivia

“MSU is such a diverse school that offers services for many problems. That being said, I am so proud of the Women’s Center for holding such a strong value in women becoming influential people in society,” said Women’s Studies Major, Michelle Farley

The events are spread out thew the month of April.  Some are free, some cost money.  Some are open to the public and some of only for MSU students but they all have a common goal.  To raise awareness for sexual assault everywhere.

“My hope for the future is SAAM wont have to dedicate itself to just a  month long event but that it will be an ongoing process of awareness through out the whole and entire year,”  said Interim Assistant Director, Samantha Hedwall

The Women’s Center wants to get the message out that there is a place where you can go.  A place where someone will always be there for you.  They will not be silent about theses issues any longer.

“Now is the time when victims can share their story and empower others with their experience,” Violence Awareness and Response Program Coordinator, Laura Schultz.  

She also expresses how this is it doesn’t end here.

“I am so glad that MSU and community organizations were able to work together and have such successful conversations about sexual violence. I look forward to continuing these conversations, supporting survivors, and ultimately working to completely eradicate sexual violence,” Schultz. 

Come to check out the MSU Women’s Center, 218 Centennial Student Union and help spread awareness so we can end sexual assault.   MSU has many events offered this month that can make you part of the change.

“Just because April is coming to an end doesn’t mean the awarness for sexual violence has to end,  Hedwall