At its heart, Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is about more than just awareness—our ultimate goal is prevention. As a pervasive issue in our culture today, it is important to remember that working to end sexual violence continues throughout the year.
Health Promotion and Wellness, as well as other campus and local partners, address violence with a public health framework of primary prevention. The purpose of primary prevention is to prevent violence before it occurs by eliminating exposure to situations that could lead to violence, changing behaviors that could lead to violence, and creating an overall culture of respect that does not tolerate any type of violence. Read more about our approach.
However, we cannot do this important work alone! Here are ways you can continue your work as an advocate in variety of ways, on campus and beyond.
Join other students on campus who are dedicated to educating themselves, and our community, about sexual violence.
Students Ending Rape Culture (SERC) members participate in educational workshops and advocacy projects with a passionate group of peers whose mission is to empower survivors of all forms of sexual violence. The group seeks to raise awareness and discredit rape culture myths by becoming peer educators. SERC also advocates for survivor support on campus and in the community. Learn more about SERC at https://www.facebook.com/sercisu/ and join online at https://wellness.illinoisstate.edu/students/serc/.
For more than 20 years, the Student Wellness Ambassador Team (SWAT) has supported students in a variety of ways, seeking to improve the health and well-being of their peers. Self-care is an essential component to all advocacy work. By joining SWAT, members support survivors and themselves by learning how to incorporate healthy behaviors into their lifestyle. Additionally, SWAT educates the campus community about consent and the characteristics of healthy relationships. Learn more about SWAT at https://www.facebook.com/ISUSWAT/ and join online at https://wellness.illinoisstate.edu/students/team/.
You can help raise awareness of sexual violence simply by educating yourself and those around you beyond the annual required trainings for both students and employees. Two of the leading organizations that provide information and resources on sexual violence are RAINN and NSVRC. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network is the largest sexual violence prevention organization in the U.S. RAINN offers credible resources and information as well as operates the 24/7 National Sexual Assault hotline, which anonymously connects callers to a local rape crisis center near them. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center manages an online resource library to help prevent and respond to sexual violence. NSVRC also coordinates Sexual Assault Awareness Month every April and helps integrate research with community projects around the world.
Volunteer opportunities in our community
Cultivate your awareness into action by supporting survivors in our community! YWCA Stepping Stones provides FREE, confidential, 24-hour assistance for sexual assault and sexual abuse survivors. After a free, 40-hour training, volunteers are qualified to provide vital support to survivors by answering hotline phone calls; facilitating prevention education on sexual violence, healthy relationships, privilege, and oppression for local community groups; and provide help with public, awareness events.
Mid Central Community Action operates the Countering Domestic Violence program, which works to help free individuals from violence through free and confidential services. After a free, 40-hour training, advocates are qualified to support survivors by finding resources for housing, childcare, employment, legal representation, and transportation; answering the 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline phone calls; and providing help with fundraising and special events.
Respond with Care
It can be difficult to know how to reach out to and support survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. Consider participating in the following workshops:
- Responding with Care: Overview of Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence: This session provides an overview of knowledge and insight that is vital for supporting survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. The information shared allows those who take the workshop to confront common myths and misconceptions that create barriers in reporting and healing.
- Responding with Care: Trauma-informed Survivor Support: This session allows participants to learn about the impact of trauma on the mind and body, during and following traumatic experiences. This knowledge will be translated into recommendations for interacting with those who have experienced, or are experiencing, trauma.
Sign up for workshops at https://wellness.illinoisstate.edu/students/workshop/.
Remember if you or someone you know is in need of help either with resources or with dealing with an unwanted sexual experience or harassment, Illinois State University Student Counseling Services offers free confidential help to students. Additional survivor support and reporting options are available on campus and in our community.