Sexual assault awareness beyond the month of April


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April is a month dedicated to supporting and honoring sexual assault survivors.

Nicole Hasek

Last month, Iowa State’s campus showed support during Sexual Assault Awareness Month by handing out magnets with resources, signs, events and posters.

As quickly as the months change, all of this visual support seemed to disappear. Even with April over, resources remain available, such as ACCESS, the Sloss Center and Student Counseling Services. Continuous community support, bringing attention to sexual assault resources and thoughtful behavior are not limited to April.

One fraternity who showed their support for sexual assault survivors in April was Delta Tau Delta, according to Chapter President Jack Dresser.

“We showed our support by hanging a banner outside of our chapter facility that expressed our support for survivors and portrayed a positive message,” Dresser said. “Also, our members wore denim on Denim Day, and we posted a picture on our Instagram that our members reposted.”

Along with this, the fraternity invited Jayde Ware from Green Dot to give a training meeting, which they do at least once a semester. During this, Ware discussed a violence prevention program and ways to replace violent sexual acts, called red dots, with positive acts, called green dots.

Dresser said his fraternity supports sexual assault survivors year-round by attending bystander training sessions and listening to keynote speakers. Dresser said attendees are often given free shirts or buttons to wear to show their support.

“Although this is a small gesture, we value awareness, and our social justice chair is always sharing articles within the chapter to promote the topic internally,” Dresser said.

Dresser said the Green Dot presentation had a positive impact on the fraternity.

According to Dresser, members of the fraternity actively listened to Jayde and participated in small group discussions. He said the members were also given different scenarios to work through that challenged the members to utilize their proactive and reactive tactics.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center states that one in five women and one in 71 men are sexually assaulted. Being aware of how common sexual assault is and how many victims there are is an important aspect of bystander support, according to the Sloss Center Director Ruxandra Marcu.

“Sexual assault affects more people than we realize, and we don’t know who’s a survivor amongst us,” Marcu said. “For that reason, it’s important to be thoughtful in our use of language, to avoid jokes and dismissive comments and to speak with the assumptions that in a group setting, there is likely at least one survivor present.”

Marcu also expressed that this issue goes far beyond college campuses and needs to be addressed and recognized throughout all of society. She also advocated for the importance of simply listening to and believing survivors.

“This isn’t just a college campus issue; we need medical practitioners who are trauma informed in their care, social services agencies that understand the impact of trauma, childcare providers who can spot the red flags, therapists who can treat accordingly, educators who know how to connect families to resources and family and friends who feel equipped to support loved ones who are survivors,” Marcu said. “We need to have these conversations in every area of our society.”