UNT plans events for sexual assault awareness

UNT plans events for sexual assault awareness

UNT plans events for sexual assault awareness
March 26
00:15 2015

Paul Wedding / Senior Staff Writer

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and UNT will be hosting several programs throughout the month to provide an open environment to discuss the dangers of sexual assault.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month will kick off with a table session hosted by UNT peer advocates from 12 to 2 p.m. April 1 in the Library Mall. The next week will feature an inclusivity and awareness event from 6 to 8 p.m. April 6 in the Kerr Hall lobby as well as a forum on the intersection of sexual assault and social justice from 6:30 to 8 p.m. April 8 in Business Leadership Building room 080.

Students can also see rape culture on film in a documentary “Rape for Who I Am” as part of the Fem Flicks series at 4 p.m. April 9 in the Chilton Hall media library.

“It’s important because it’s an issue that’s not really given a lot of attention in our society,” peer advocate Lakai Henderson said. “We want to make sure that UNT stays a safe campus and bring empowerment to survivors of sexual assault.”

The University Program Council will host “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” from 5 to 7 p.m. April 14 in the Library Mall. The next day will feature a student showcase shining light on sexual assault awareness at 6:30 p.m. in Sage Hall.

A resource fair will be available for students from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21 at the Discovery Park lobby while a human library will happen from 1 to 7 p.m. April 22 and 23 in the Willis Library forum.

The final event will occur on April 30. UNT Take Back the Night is part of a nationwide event called 10 Points of Light to Take Back the Night. It was started in the 1970s and was created to bring awareness to the dangers of sexual assault. The event includes activities on consent and intervention, several guest speakers, a candlelight vigil and a march around campus.

Students are also invited to make signs for the Take Back the Night at workshops held from 2:30-4:30 p.m. April 16 and 23 at the Library Mall.

Assistant vice president for student affairs Maureen McGuinness said it is important to educate the student body on sexual assault.

“It is vital to educate on consent, all aspects of sexual assault and do what we can to prevent its occurrence,” McGuinness said. “It is just as important to educate our community on who to report to and what resources the university can assist survivors with who have been sexually assaulted.”

Henderson agreed and said sexual assault is often kept quiet due to social stigmas.

“It’s stigmatized in our society that we’re not taught to discuss,” Henderson said. “But it should be talked about.”

UNT will soon hire the first assistant director for crisis, student advocacy and violence prevention, who will act as an advocate for victims of sexual assault. The two candidates for the position are Renee LeClaire and Karla Arenas-Itotia. LeClaire works as an academic counselor for social work and applied gerontology at UNT and Arenas-Itotia works as a case manager for Catholic Charities Fort Worth and has done social and advocate work in the past.

International Studies sophomore Marisa Austin said she appreciates the effort UNT is putting forth to spread awareness on sexual assault.

“I think it’s very important,” she said. “It’s not talked about enough and it should be. I think it would make everyone feel safer on campus.”

Featured Image: A Take Back The Night march in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Take Back The Night is an international program of rallies and protest marches against sexual violence. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons 

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