Lawrence to observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month with events and education

 Every year, Lawrence University observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in April. The goal of the month is to create a space to recognize survivors and to strive towards ending all forms of sexual violence. The month is additionally an opportunity for education and a chance to foster more open discussion of issues.  

“As a student, I feel like we can always do more to support and draw attention to sexual harassment and sexual assault on our campus,” stated rising co-chair of SAASHA junior Miranda Follmann. “I think Lawrence University as an organization needs to put a lot more focus on what we are doing about sexual assault and holding people accountable for their actions.”  

Sexual Harassment and Assault Resources and Education (SHARE), Student Alliance Against Sexual Harassment and Assault (SAASHA) and the university have created several events to help students engage with this month.  

A career chat on sexual violence advocacy in the workplace will take place on Thursday, April 11 beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Diversity and Intercultural Center (D&IC). Saturday, April 13 will have trauma-informed yoga hosted at Grace Under Fire Yoga at 11 a.m. Attendees will be led through a trauma-informed vinyasa flow yoga class. The class emphasizes that it is open to those impacted by sexual violence, and no experience is necessary to attend, though pre-registration is required. Later that day, they will be hosting a Sexual Education Fair, which will be open to the Lawrence community.  

“The goal is to have a party space for students that is safe, welcoming and survivor-centered for any students who do not feel comfortable going to other types of events on campus,” co-chair of SAASHA senior Madeleine Corum said. 

On Wednesday, April 24, a Denim Day will be hosted, giving Lawrence students a chance to show support for survivors by wearing denim, along with a community art project.  

SAASHA will also be hosting a Take Back the Night ceremony, with a date to be announced soon. Take back the Night focuses on recovering the unsafe and negative emotions associated with that time of day. The night will be dedicated to survivors of sexual assault and will provide a healing space for those who attend.  

“We are reclaiming it and saying this is a time where you can feel safe, and where survivors can feel safe and feel seen,” Corum explained. “There will be a lantern-lighting ceremony for Take Back the Night, in addition to a closed mic event where people can play music, read poetry, etc. — save space.”  

In an email about the month sent out to all Lawrentians, SHARE provides the information of Lawrence’s Title IX Coordinator Sara Holtzman, a mandated reporter, as well as the school’s non-mandated reporters: Campus Advocate Rachel Parbs and Wellness Services and Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life Terra Winston-Sage.  

“Recognizing SAAM is not merely about acknowledging the existence of sexual violence, but also about taking concrete actions to effect positive change,” the email stated. “By engaging in awareness-raising activities, supporting survivors and advocating for systemic reforms, we contribute to creating safer, more inclusive communities where everyone can live free from the threat of sexual violence.”