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US Universities Host Activities for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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With the aim of curbing the problem of sexual violence on campus, universities throughout the US have planned events to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

Two such institutions, the University of Arkansas (UArk) and Stanford University, have announced a series of activities to raise awareness of sexual abuse, not just on campus, but throughout the country.

UArk revealed through its website that it plans to focus on students’ understanding of the issue and to provide possible ways to heal and support victims.

The institution also intends to launch a series of lectures and fairs in an attempt to call a halt to sexual abuse in the country.

Meanwhile, Stanford University, which will officially begin sexual assault awareness month on April 6, encourages students to show support by wearing teal – the color of sexual assault awareness and prevention.

The university will also spearhead virtual events such as a Conversation on Sexual Citizenship, Yoga as Healing, a Take Back the Night rally, and Denim Day on April 28.

“We are taking a particular approach to our events of the month, focusing on creating healing opportunities for participants in light of global events with a keen understanding of the compounding impacts of the pandemic and the national reckoning with racial injustice, ableism, and violence against trans people, for example,” Carley Flanery, director of prevention education for students at Stanford, said.

Students Take Action Against Sexual Assault

Last week, 11 women sued the Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Board of Regents for allegedly failing to act on sexual assault complaints against male students.

One of the plaintiffs stated in an interview with the Detroit Free Press that former Title IX coordinator Melody Werner told her that her case was not even worth reporting.

However, EMU spokesperson Geoff Larcom firmly denied the claim, saying the accusation in the lawsuit about the university covering up such crimes is “false.”

In a separate case, the University of Southern California agreed to pay $1.1 billion to more than 700 women who accused the school’s former campus gynecologist of sexual abuse.

“The settlement, which was announced on March 25, marks the end of the litigation filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. Between the settlements in federal and state courts, the university stands to pay plaintiffs more than $1.1 billion,” the university stated.

As cases of on-campus sexual assault in the US continue, students have engaged in several other initiatives calling for a campus environment free of sexual violence.

They created an Instagram account called ‘Campus Survivors’ for students to share their experiences of sexual assault anonymously.

Several college students also posted flyers and wrote chalk messages around their schools condemning sexual abuse and drawing attention to this still largely unaddressed issue.

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