Event Preview: Sexual Assault Awareness Week

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Olivia Craft

Sexual Assault Awareness Week is from Feb. 24 to Feb. 28 on the Georgia Southern University Statesboro campus. 

This event has been taking place for almost 20 years on the Statesboro Campus.

Lauren Patterson, chair of the Georgia Southern Sexual Assault Response team, said that this is a full five days of events working to bring awareness and education to the topic of sexual assault. This is also a week centered on making students, faculty, and staff feel less alone when dealing with sexual assault. 

There will be lessons on bystander intervention, consent and healthy relationships. There will also be a self defense course for all who identify as female. 

The Clothesline Project

Photos by Sindi Patani

The Clothesline Project will be taking place Monday through Friday. 

Patterson said that this is a national campaign that the campus takes part in every year. 

This event consists of going to where they are tabled throughout campus and getting the shirt that coincides with what you have been through or the color that resonates the most with you, and you can write or draw on them. The shirts will be hung through the course of the week in various locations around campus including in the RAC, in Russell Union on the stage, and in the library. They keep all of the shirts that they acquire throughout the years and those are hung over the pedestrium. 

The colors for the shirts are:

  • Pink: Sexual Assault
  • Blue: Childhood Sexual Abuse
  • Purple: Violence due to sexual orientation
  • Yellow: Survivor of physical assault or domestic violence
  • White: in memory of a murdered victim

“It’s pretty incredible to look up … and see all of the pink T-shirts and know that every single one of those shirts is another person that has somehow been impacted by sexual assault,” said Patterson 

Rape Aggression Defense Course (RAD)

Sexual Assault Awareness Week will also include free RAD self defense classes for Georgia Southern students, faculty and staff who identify as women. It is a twelve hour course that will be taught on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and participants are required to attend at least the first two days. 

Healthy Relationships Health Hut

On Monday there will also be a healthy relationships event held at the library from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.. Here, you can go and ask wellness ambassadors about healthy relationships and make sure that the relationship you are in is healthy. 

Survivor Love Letters

Photos by Sindi Patani

Tuesday from 9 am to 4 pm at Russell Union Commons, you can participate in Survivor Love Letters. This is where people can go and write letters of encouragement and letters about their personal experiences. The letters will be displayed in Russell Union. 

Health Services Next Steps Booth

On Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a booth set up at the Rotunda where you can go learn about ways to reduce the incidence of sexual assault and about bystander intervention. 

Take Back the Night March & End the Violence Rally

Photos by Sindi Patani

Thursday will consist of a march and rally for anyone who is interested in activism. The Take Back the Night March will begin at 7 p.m.. Patterson also said that they will be handing out long sleeve tee shirts, and that they are first come, first serve. The rally will be held after the march. At the rally, there will be a candlelight vigil as well as an open mic opportunity where survivors can tell their stories and and their voices can be heard. 

Restorative Retreat

Patterson said that because they realize that this week can be a bit overwhelming for victims of sexual assault, they also have a “restorative retreat” occurring on Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. This restorative event will include meditation, yoga and meditative art work. 

Patterson said that she encourages everyone to participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Week because it is a learning opportunity. 

We have multiple messages that we hope students will understand. We hope that they understand the impact that sexual violence can have on people and how many people are affected. We also hope that they will learn what they can do to reduce incident rates through knowing what healthy relationships look like, knowing what it means to give and get consent, and knowing good bystander intervention strategies.

Lauren Patterson