April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and campus activists across the country hosted and attended events such as Take Back the Night, Denim Day and the Clothes Line Project. I am one of those activists: on April 7, I was one of hundreds of students at American University to come out for this year’s Take Back the Night. The rally, hosted by AUSG Women’s Initiative, began with a march around campus led by a women’s drum line and finished with testimonials in a private space. The experience was invaluable to me.
Take Back the Night rallies happen across the country every year, mostly on college campuses. They’re meant to create a safe space for those who have experienced sexual violence and encourage a more open dialogue for its prevention. Being there was extremely empowering; one of my closest friends even told her sexual assault story for the first time there – a story she had never even felt comfortable enough to share with me in private. For her to be able to divulge her thoughts and feelings in such a safe space was incredibly moving – and incredibly important.
Sexual violence is a very serious problem that affects millions of women and men. In the United States, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime and nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced other forms of sexual violence at some point in their lives. 90% of sexual assault survivors knew their attacker prior to the assault. It’s facts like these – as well as continued university failures to handle sexual assault – that make the work Feminist Campus does to end sexual violence on campus so important.
We know you’ve been busy this month sparking dialogue, creating change, and impacting lives with activism centered around ending sexual violence – and we wanna help you share your accomplishments! Your events and actions could lay the foundation for similar efforts around the country, so in an effort to connect our activists with one another, we’d love to help you bask in your own glory and tell your fellow campus activists how you’re making things happen at your college or university.
Send pictures and stories from your SAAM events to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them @feministcampus and we’ll showcase your work to our national network via social media or this very blog! In the meantime, keep up the good work.