April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. BYU’s Women’s Services and Resources and Title IX offices are sponsoring several free events to increase understanding and awareness. All of the events are open to the public.
“Our events this year for Sexual Assault Awareness Month cover a wide range of awareness topics,” said Tiffany Turley, BYU’s Title IX coordinator. “From bystander intervention to risk reduction and men’s engagement, we are looking forward to holding events that will engage and educate our students and the campus community, while addressing and bringing awareness to this very important issue.”
Over the past year, BYU has made significant strides in addressing the issue of sexual assault with the goal to create an environment where sexual assault is eliminated. In October 2016, the Advisory Council on Campus Response to Sexual Assault completed a study requested by BYU President Kevin J Worthen. The Advisory Council made 23 recommendations, which were all accepted by the BYU President’s Council.
Since that time, BYU has completed many of the recommendations. Some are in process and some are ongoing. A full listing of the progress BYU has made with these recommendations is available here.
One recommendation currently being implemented is a survey BYU has sent to students to help the university better understand the campus climate on the issue of sexual assault. Conducting research regarding perceptions and incidents of sexual misconduct will provide BYU with vital information that will guide its efforts to create a safer campus. Students are encouraged to complete the survey, which will be open until April 19. (Students who have not yet completed the survey are receiving weekly reminders.)
“Just as the Advisory Council sought input from students and others during our review, we believe it is important that the university be aware of the attitudes and needs of our campus community,” said Student Life Vice President Janet S. Scharman, who led the Advisory Council’s study. “The campus climate survey will certainly help in our efforts to create a safer campus.”
Scharman reiterated that the campus climate survey is one of many efforts underway by the university. As another example, she points to the work of the Title IX Office and BYU’s Women’s Services and Resources in creating awareness and understanding. “These two offices are working very hard to provide a supportive climate, where students can receive the information and help they need. I encourage everyone to participate in and learn from these upcoming events.”
Here is a list of the events:
Keynote Lecture: Overcoming Adversity – The Elizabeth Smart Story
F, March 31; 7—8p; Joseph Smith Building Auditorium
BYU alumna Elizabeth Smart will present the opening keynote lecture for Sexual Assault Awareness month at BYU. Elizabeth shares her incredible story of perseverance in the face of unimaginable hardship. Her speech not only tells her personal story, but also discusses topics such as overcoming extreme adversity, understanding the importance and process of recovery and not allowing your past to dictate your life’s future.
Chalk the Walk: Picture a World without Sexual Assault
M, April 3; 11a—1p; Brigham Square
What would a world without sexual assault look like? Use chalk to write, draw or sign your name to pledge against sexual assault and sexual violence. Everyone who makes a pledge will receive a free T-shirt.
Step Up! Workshop: Bystander Intervention Training
T, April 4; 1—2p; 3211 Wilkinson Student Center
Step Up, BYU! Each of us can take action in preventing abuse and assault. This nationally recognized, hands-on workshop will teach about bystander intervention and how to be proactive in helping others. Refreshments will be served and all workshop participants will receive a free T-shirt.
Awareness Gallery: Visual Representations of Sexual Assault Statistics
W, April 5; 11a—1p; Brigham Square
See the statistics up close and better understand how sexual assault impacts our community.
Man Up: Engaging Men in Violence Prevention
Th, April 6; 11a—12p; 3380 Wilkinson Student Center
Sexual assault is not just a problem for women. Men and women can and should unite together in the fight against sexual assault. This presentation by Marty Liccardo, men’s engagement specialist at Utah’s Department of Health Violence & Injury Prevention Program, will explore men’s roles and responsibility in preventing violence in our community. Refreshments will be served.
Self-Defense Workshop: Safety Tips and Techniques
F, April 7; 11a—12p & 12p-1p; 3290 Wilkinson Student Center
Would you know what to do if a stranger attacked you in a parking lot or while you were out on an evening run? Would you know how to get away if someone you know was trying to assault you? This hour-long workshop teaches self-defense strategies, tips and techniques. Learn how to protect yourself and feel safe.