April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. While it may not be as fun as April Fool’s Day or Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day, it is important that we don’t let April pass us by without taking the time to educate ourselves and others. During undergrad, I was lucky enough to intern with my school’s Women’s Resource Center. Georgia College and State University was so lucky to have this resource and the amazing women who worked there. During my internship I learned a countless amount of valuable information and would like to take a moment to share some of it with you. The Women’s Resource Center website defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient of the unwanted sexual activity.” It is important to familiarize yourself with this definition, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading for several ways in which you can educate yourself and others this month.
Host a Clothesline Project. The Clothesline Project helps people to use the creative and visual arts to tell their story. By decorating a shirt which is then displayed on a clothesline, participants create their own testimony to the problem of violence against women. We hosted a Clothesline Project every year at Georgia College and it was incredible to see these shirts hung up on our front campus, not to mention it made for an informative and humbling walk to class. Check out the Clothesline Project website for some really great information on hosting your own event.
Play Bingo. The Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Program has created an awesome bingo card, but in place of numbers the squares are filled with ways you can help to be the solution to sexual assault.
Wear jeans. April 29, Denim Days, people across the US will wear jeans in support of sexual assault survivors. Even some of the simplest actions can spark meaningful conversations! Check out their website for information on events in your area.
Host a V-Day Event. V-Day is held through February, March, and April as a movement to end violence against women. Some of the events include performances of the Vagina Monologues, film screenings, and events tailored for specific groups of people. V-Day is originally how I got involved in the Women’s Center at Georgia College, auditioning for and performing in The Vagina Monologues. The V-Day Website has more information on starting your own event or finding one in your area.
Take to Social Media. Using your social media powers for good is always a great idea. The Facebook friends you’ve been collecting since the 8th grade make for a great audience when you want to share something you think is important. Don’t know what to say? The National Sexaul Violence Resource Center has a great list of suggested tweets for the month of April. It’s a couple of years old but still incredibly relevant. They also have an awesome social media toolkit and downloadable desktop backgrounds and Facebook cover pictures. Want to start a conversation but not sure with who? Many organizations like The Unslut Project are constantly having valuable conversation via Twitter. Or tweet me at @amanda_taylor.
Watch a movie. There are so many documentaries, including the new The Hunting Ground, on campus rape. I haven’t seen it but its already raised a ton of awareness and started a lot of discussion on what we can do to make campuses safer.
Learn about consent. Do you know what consent is? Being able to talk about consent is the first part in being able to give enthusiastic consent. Groups like The Consensual Project educate campuses on the subject, plus theres tons of great information waiting to be soaked up on their website. More of a visual learner? Take your pic on infographics on the topic.
Easy as that. Take some time to educate yourself this month and share your newfound information with someone else. The more we talk about sexual assault, the more we have a general understanding of what it is and how we can prevent it.