The Illinois State University community is invited to take part in events throughout April in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual Assault Awareness Month helps raise awareness and support for those who experience sexual assault and other gender-based violence. Sexual Assault Awareness Month began in 1978 when the first Take Back the Night event was held in New York City. Over the past four decades, the awareness event has grown to encompass an entire month’s worth of activities.
The 2019 Sexual Assault Awareness Month theme is I Ask, highlighting the importance of asking others for consent. This year’s theme centers on empowering all of us to put consent into practice every day, in all situations. Whether it’s asking someone to borrow their car, hold their hand, permission to share personal information with others, or asking if someone is interested in sex, talking through consent is a vital part of any type of relationship. Creating a culture of consent is just one concrete example of how to end sexual harassment, abuse, and assault.
Check out these ways to get involved on and off campus this month to help work towards ending sexual violence. Organizations involved in this year’s events include Acacia, Health Promotion and Wellness, The Movement, Student Government Association (SGA), Students Ending Rape Culture (SERC), Student Wellness Ambassador Team (SWAT), Pride, University Program Board, Women in Business, and YWCA Stepping Stones.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Advocating for Survivors
Thursday, March 28
Bone Student Center, first floor
Features What Were you Wearing? exhibit, a visual recreation of clothing worn by local survivors during their sexual assault, which highlights that clothing and survivors are not to blame. Also, view expression of survivors’ journeys through art and support their experiences. Created by Professor Shelly Clevenger’s CJS 337: Sex Offender course and YWCA Stepping Stones as part of a civic engagement partnership.
Believe the Survivors: Change the Culture
Thursday, April 4
Schroeder Hall, room 244
Join this panel discussion event that will also feature the What Were you Wearing? exhibit. Panel includes officers from the Illinois State University, Normal, and Bloomington Police Departments as well as representatives from Health Promotion and Wellness and YWCA Stepping Stones, and Illinois State students.
Day of Silence
Friday, April 12
Quad, Schroeder Plaza
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
On April 12, people across the nation will take a vow of silence to call attention to and signify the prevalence of the silencing of and harassment against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students. Join SERC and SWAT during their tabling event and get tips on how to participate as well as receive Day of Silence cards you can hand out to explain your silent protest.
Communicating Consent: In the Bedroom & Beyond
Wednesday, April 24
Schroeder Hall, room 244
Desire to engage in sexual activity should be present verbally by what you’re hearing, nonverbally by what you are seeing, and kinesthetically by what you are feeling. Join us for an interactive workshop highlighting how consent is about having a choice and a VOICE (voluntary, ongoing, informed, clear, and enthusiastic).
#ISUAsks: Consent Day
Tuesday, April 30
Student Fitness Center
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
On the last Teal Tuesday of the month, stop by the Student Fitness Center to explore consent and its vital role in healthy relationships for Consent Day. Visit with campus student organizations, learn how to empower yourself to communicate consent, and take a pledge to commit to consent and helping end sexual violence. Participating organizations include Acacia, The Movement, Pride, SERC, Student Government Association, SWAT, University Program Board, and Women in Business.
Other local events
Songs for the Strong
Friday, April 5, beginning at 5 p.m.
The Bistro, 316 N. Main St., Bloomington
Join YWCA for an evening of music featuring local artists! Cover charge and proceeds from specials will be donated to YWCA Stepping Stones.
Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
The Clothesline Project is a visual display that bears witness to violence against women. Each shirt, decorated by local survivors, represents a particular person’s experience.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes
Saturday, April 13, at 11 a.m.
Calling all men to Walk a Mile in Her Shoes! The goal of this event is to not only raise awareness about sexual violence, but to improve gender relationships and appreciation for women’s experiences. Register here for this FREE event.
Take Back the Night
Thursday, April 25, at 6 p.m.
McLean County Museum of History
Raise awareness for sexual violence and support survivors in their healing process by attending this event. Hear from featured speakers and participate in a march through downtown Bloomington, followed by a candlelight vigil.