Every ninety-eight seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. One in five American women and one in seventy-one American men will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime. And one in three American women and one in six American men will experience some sort of sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. These statistics are deeply upsetting, and yet, they are a reality for far too many people.
Thankfully, awareness and recognition of sexual assault has been steadily growing since the turn of the century. As of 2001, the month of April has been officially deemed as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. This is a time where people of all genders, sexualities, and backgrounds are invited to learn, reflect, and hopefully act on the unfortunately pervasive issues of sexual assault.
Here at Colgate, some great efforts and initiatives have been made for the most recent Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Many of these efforts are thanks to The Network, a sexual assault and domestic violence awareness group run out of the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education. In addition to hosting its usual weekly meetings, this past month The Network has hosted lectures focusing on issues like survivor support and off-campus resources. The Network also put together a powerful Take Back the Night March followed by a Speak Out for survivors of sexual violence. In total, approximately twenty different events were held across Colgate’s campus in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month hosted by The Network, Haven, the Women’s Studies Department, and the Chapel.
The events in honor of this important month all share a general theme and all aim to perpetuate a general set of values. Sexual assault and general sexual violence are things we at Colgate seek to combat through education, advocacy, and fervent support of survivors. We are constantly seeking to better our efforts and better ourselves, and this past month has been a purposeful illustration of that.