April is Sexual Assault Awareness month (SAAM). Sam Houston State University SAAM committee and Not on My Campus are joining forces to raise awareness.
Organizations including Not on My Campus, Office of Equity and Inclusion, Program Council, Office of Health Promotion, Student Legal Mediation Services, HKC Rec Center, Lambda Alpha Epsilon, National Organization of Hispanics in CJ, Crime Victim Service Alliance and Montgomery County Women’s Center have planned for several events throughout the month to spread the awareness around campus.
The slogan for this year’s SAAM is “Your Voice Has Power.”
“We are really using this slogan to motivate everyone on campus, students and staff, to use their voice to raise awareness,” said Nicol Ruiz, Not On My Campus “Advokat” and Student Assistant in the Office of Equity and Inclusion/Title IX. “We really want people to come to the events to learn how to use their voice and to really enforce the idea that their voice has power and with this, we can start taking actions to end Sexual Assault.”
On Monday night there will be a SAAM kickoff lunch held at the General’s Market, followed by a presentation called What’s the Fact in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom discussing rape culture.
On Wednesday the SSA Exhibit “Undressing my Voice” opens at 12 p.m. in the LSC Art Gallery and will be available until April 13, with the purpose of bringing awareness to victim blaming.
“We will have clothes displayed with the purpose of raising awareness against victim blaming, with the idea that no matter what you are wearing, you were not in fault for being raped,” Ruiz said.
At 6 p.m. there will be a SAAM movie showcase of the film “Precious,” presented by the Program Council and Student Legal Mediation Services.
Several other events such as presentations, poetry showcases, “Get Yourself Tested” events, celebrations and rallies will all take place through out April.
Not everything on the agenda for this month are events. There will also be “What’s the Tea” tabling to provide facts on sexual assault. Sexual Assault Awareness Committee has planned “Walk A mile in her Shoes”, which was done last year, when men and women wear heels around campus. All 4 One, an event dedicated to survivors in which they will be sharing their poetry, and “Men, your voice matters”, which will be done to raise awareness for sexual assault among men, a topic that is not commonly talked about.
“Students should attend the events to raise sexual assault awareness, to get informed on the facts on rape culture, and to use their voice to start a conversation,” Ruiz said. “We are hoping to raise as much awareness as possible.”
According to Ruiz, there are several ways students can raise awareness:
“Attend SAAM events, get informed and know your resources,” Ruiz said. “If you know the facts, you will be able to help a friend, a roommate, a family member, a stranger, and yourself. By knowing the facts, you will know what to do if sexual assault does occur, but you will also know how to prevent it, talk about it, raise awareness, and end it. Volunteer, participate, join us for tabling, help us share the facts.”
You can also help spread awareness through utilizing social media.
“This one [social media] plays a huge role in our generation,” Ruiz said. “Follow our social media and the national SAAM campaigns. Start raising awareness by making posts, retweeting our post, joining the national campaigns like #30daysofsaam. Not only this, but do research online! Websites like RAINN and KnowyourIX are great resources to know your facts. Use these facts and share them on social media.”
Most importantly, the best way to raise awareness on sexual assault is by using your voice.
“Speak up,” Ruiz said. “Use your voice. Talk to your friends, family and classmates about sexual assault. Raise awareness by using your voice, because your voice has power.”
The SAAM event calendar can be found at @SHSUSAAM on Instagram and Twitter.