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SHSU To Host Events To Combat Sexual Assault

April 15, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Beth Kuhles

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Sam Houston State University will lead the fight against sexual assault in the community in a series of events April 21-29 in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

woman holding hand out palm facing camera
A series of events hosted by 12 SHSU and Huntsville groups will work to put a stop to sexual assault. The events will be April 21-29, across campus.

“Bearkats Against Sexual Assault: Not in Our Community” will feature events throughout April, including:

  • A pledge drive against violence in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area throughout the week
  • A documentary screening of “Red Blooded Men” and panel discussion on April 23 at 6 p.m. in the Academic Building IV Olson Auditorium
  • A Denim Day to honor survivors and raise awareness on April 23
  • An “Ignite the Night” rally and march to the Walker County Courthouse on April 29, beginning at 5:30 p.m. behind Lone Star Hall
  • A donation drive for SAAFE House, a local women’s shelter for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence throughout the week

The events are sponsored by 12 groups on campus and in the community, including the Crime Victims’ Institute, Crime Victim Services Alliance, College of Criminal Justice Graduate Student Organization, University Police Department, Residence Life, Student Health Center, Graduate Student Psychology Organization, Counseling Center, Gamma Sigma Kappa, SAAFE House, Greek Life, and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Initiative.

“Sexual assault is a problem that impacts the SHSU campus, the greater Huntsville community, and beyond,” said Nicole Wilkes, Crime Victims Institute research associate. “We need to come to together to support survivors and do our parts individually and as a community to prevent sexual violence.”

One in six women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape at some time in their lives. College students are particularly vulnerable, with research estimating that 20 to 25 percent of women will fall victim to these crimes during their college careers, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey.

Only five percent of college victims will report the crime to police.

To promote action against sexual assault in the community, the Crime Victim Services Alliance will hold a pledge drive from Monday to Thursday, from 10 to 2 p.m. in the LSC Mall Area.

tudents, faculty and staff can sign a pledge card and banner vowing not to participate or be a bystander in sexual violence. The booth also will provide resources on sexual assault.

On April 23, the campus will participate in Denim Day, which encourages everyone to wear denim to raise awareness and support survivors.

The event was triggered by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The case received international attention and is used to focus the community at large on the legal definition of consent.

Individuals who participate in this event can stop at a table in the LSC Mall Area to pick up a button.

A documentary, “Red Blooded Men,” will be screened on April 23 in Olson Auditorium.

Sponsored by PACTS5, a national movement to prevent sexual assaults and rapes in colleges, the documentary covers multiple aspects of college life from the male’s perspective.

“Red Blooded Men” examines notions of masculinity and femininity in an effort to create awareness about the increasing trend of sexual assault on campuses across America.

The documentary will be followed by a panel discussion.

The third Ignite the Night, on April 29, will promote awareness and honor sexual assault survivors through a rally, march and presentations by SAAFE House director Jolene Miller, a rape survivor and the University Police Department. The rally will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a march to the Walker Country Courthouse.

During the events, teddy bear donations will be accepted for the SAAFE House.



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