Through bake sales, panel discussions and community events, the University of Oregon Women’s Center, The Wesley Center, the UO’s Men’s Center and Lane County Sexual Assault Support Services are all contributing to spread awareness on campus during Sexual Violence Prevention Week.
April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and known as an annual campaign to observe and educate about sexual assault, and how to prevent sexual violence. During the last week of April the University of Oregon is committed to educate the community about the reality of sexual violence, and to promote that whether you are an advocate to prevent sexual violence or have been personally affected.
“Everyone has a safe place here,” said Joanna Stewart, public relations officer at the ASUO Women’s Center.
Events began Sunday, April 21, with the Consent is Sexy 5k run sponsored by Sexual Assault Support Services as well as the UO Men’s Center.
There are many events throughout the course of the week open to the community. Sponsored by the Women’s Center, a film screening of “The Invisible War” will be taking place on Monday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the UO School of Law in room 175.
“The inspiration these days and something we have been working on for a long time is really shifting the cultural lens with which we look at the issue in the first place,” said Jessica Linscott, sexual violence prevention and education coordinator graduate teaching fellow at the Women’s Center.
Also taking place will be a panel discussion to recognize advocacy, activism and civil disobedience in sexual violence on Tuesday April 23 in the Wesley Center at 7 p.m.
“We are working for justice and creating a better community. We are calling on everyone to be a part of it,” said Warren Light, director of the Wesley Center.
There will also be a keynote speech from Dr. Jackson Katz, entitled “Bad Boys and Bystanders: Silence and Violence in Male Culture” Wednesday, April 24 in PLC 180.
“Sexual Violence Prevention Week is a chance for the community to create a safer place for everyone,” said Candace Davis, a senior at the University of Oregon and volunteer at Sexual Assault Support Services. “We know that these things are going on. We’re not OK with it. So we are taking a stand.”
The most prominent and popular three part event at UO is Take Back the Night. The event includes a rally, a march and a speak out that is sponsored by the UO Women’s Center and Sexual Assault Support Services. Stewart hopes the event will help people understand the severity of these issues, and allow students to share their experiences in an appropriate venue.
“Take Back the Night is an event to educate people about what consent is and to provide a space for people to have their voice heard,” Stewart said.
Sexual Violence Prevention Week gives all students a chance to understand the realities of sexual violence and assault, to support those who have been affected and to learn ways to prevent them from happening again.
“Sexual Violence Prevention Week is an opportunity to raise awareness around an issue that affects the entire campus population,” said Abigail Leeder, director of sexual violence prevention and education. “The events are intended to bring us together to talk about these important issues as a community and take collective responsibility for ending sexual assault on our campus.”