FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the University of Arkansas is raising public awareness all month long.
If you are on campus, you will hear the bell of old main ring, every Wednesday this month, every 73 seconds from 12p.m. – 1 p.m.. That is to represent how often an American is a victim of sexual assault.
The Campus Sexual and Relationship Violence Center tells us they are taking a holistic approach to sexual assault awareness month this year.
The organization will focus on three themes – awareness and understanding, healing and support, and action and advocacy.
There’s a guided hike along Lake Fayetteville trail with words of support throughout the trail, they get crafty with DIY stress balls and hosting guided meditations.
People will also be asked to show solidarity by painting the campus teal and placing teal ribbons on trees, buildings and door signs. They are also chalking the campus teal with written messages of support.
There’s also the ‘What Were You Wearing? Survivor Art Installation’ which exhibits the clothing or recreations of the clothing someone was wearing when sexually assaulted.
“The hope is that people can see that what people are wearing when they are assaulted is irrelevant the part that matters is that they were sexually assaulted,” said Felicity Johnson, the Graduate Assistant for the group.
The exhibit originated at the University back in 2014 and is now being recreated around the world.
Women between the ages of 18 to 24 are three to four times more at risk of sexual violence, that’s according to the National Sexual Assault Hotline. That’s why the organization tells us they are doing what they can to prevent sexual assaults from happening on its campus.
Consent is giving permission for something to happen or to be done
Johnson says an active, enthusiastic “yes” verbally or physically is important when engaging in sexual activity. Adding in that case, you know the people involved are excited about what is happening.
Johnson says not hearing “no” is not enough to move forward.
“Someone who is unconscious, someone who is asleep, or someone who is incapacitated for whatever means isn’t able to say “no”. So, we believe one of the best ways to avoid sexual assaults is by the “yes” means “yes” policy and getting very specific confirmation,” said Johnson.
She adds there are times when you can’t be as enthusiastic as your partner. For example. if you feel pressured or forced into saying “yes” or if there’s a gross power difference and you stand to lose something if you don’t say “yes”.
The group will also touch on the options to consider if faced with sexual harassment or assault.
Now the university tells us the number of reported rapes on campus have gone down in the last four years and their goal is to stop them from happening completely. It emphasized the importance of sexual awareness month and year around programs to educate and bring awareness to sexual violence.
The university community is also encouraged to share the sexual assault awareness month graphic on social media to show support and its commitment to ending sexual violence.
HEALING AND SUPPORT — APRIL 12-16
April 12 at 6 p.m. at PWHC Wellness Area (2nd floor)
- Join Lydia Carrington, LAC, who will guide participants through a meditation exercise for rejuvenation. Offered as an in-person session (COVID capacity limits may restrict access depending on turn out) and as a virtual event. Social distancing and mask wearing are to be followed in accordance with university COVID policy.
- Join the virtual option via Facebook Live @uarkRESPECT.
- Sponsored by SRVC.
A Teal-Guided Hike: Finding Self-Connection and Healing
April 12-23 at Lake Fayetteville
- Take some time to reflect along the Lake Fayetteville Trail. Various reflective moment markers designed in collaboration between SRVC staff and the university’s School of Art will allow participants to engage in mindfulness while considering the impact of sexual violence, whether personally experienced or through being a member of the community at large.
- Co-sponsored by SRVC, S.T.A.T., (Service Through Art Therapy) and City of Fayetteville Parks.
Roll Red Roll – Free Film and Discussion
April 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Greek Theatre
- Come watch Roll Red Roll, a true crime thriller that goes beyond the headlines and reveals a culture at the root of a sexual assault in America. Following the film, an in-depth discussion will process the film with participants for an even greater understanding and the need for cultural change as a means to overcome sexual violence. Social distancing and mask wearing are to be followed in accordance with university COVID policy.
- Presented by RESPECT peer educators and Theta Chi.
- Backup rain location will be the Union Ballroom.
- Sponsored by SRVC RESPECT Peer Education program.
DIY Stress Balls
April 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Anne Kittrell Art Gallery (Arkansas Union, 4th floor)
- An opportunity to craft DIY stress balls. The finished products can be donated as a part of the Survivor Care Kit Donation Drive (information below).
- Sponsored by University Programs.
Survivor Care Kit Donation Drive
April 14-19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Anne Kittrell Art Gallery (Arkansas Union, 4th floor)
- Donations for survivor care kits can be dropped off during gallery hours during this time period.
- All donated items will be provided to the NWA Center for Sexual Assault.
- Here is a list of needed items:
- Small coloring books & pencils
- Small lotion (for bruises & irritated skin)
- Small stuffed toy/stress ball
- Calming tea
- Bags to give survivors for these things (not Ziploc or plastic bags)
- Sponsored by University Programs.
SAAM Sunset Yoga
April 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Adohi Hall (in-person and virtual event)
- “Each sunset is the beginning of a very, very bright and powerful sunrise.” — Sri Chinmoy. Join Dr. Ed Mink, director of wellness and health promotion, Pat Walker Health Center, for an evening of healing energy with sunset yoga in the peacefully creative environment of Adohi Hall. Social distancing and mask wearing are to be followed in accordance with university COVID policy.
- Join virtually via Facebook Live @uarkRESPECT.
- Co-sponsored by SRVC and Wellness & Health Promotion.
Notes of Love and Support
April 15 from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Anne Kittrell Art Gallery (Arkansas Union, 4th floor)
- Take and/or write and leave notes of support.
- NWA Sexual Assault Center representative will be on hand.
- Sponsored by University Programs.
ACTION AND ADVOCACY — APRIL 19-30
Paint the Campus Teal
Across campus all week
- Show your advocacy in action. Through solidarity, we can collectively rise above sexual violence by recoloring our cultural canvas. Let others know you stand against sexual violence and the attitudes, myths and behaviors that lend to rape culture. Help paint the campus teal by way of showing your support. Example ideas include, but are not limited to, tying teal ribbons on trees, door signs (create your own or print and hang one of these), create and display a departmental banner, change your social media profile image, chalk the walk with a message of support for victims/survivors with teal chalk, etc.
- Coordinated through a campuswide partnership.
What Were You Wearing? Survivor Art Installation (Reflections in Art as Activism) Exhibit
April 19-23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day at the Anne Kittrell Art Gallery (Arkansas Union, 4th Floor)
- The impactful exhibit that brings striking truth to debunking the popular myth surrounding clothing and sexual assault. University Programs joins the Sexual and Relationship Violence Center to display this exhibit throughout the week. The exhibit was created by staff of the Sexual and Relationship Violence Center and first displayed on campus in April 2014. Just a few short years later, the campus exhibit became a world phenomenon. Join the creators for a discussion panel on April 20 (information below).
- Sponsored by SRVC with University Programs.
Reflections in Art as Activism Panel Discussion
April 20 at 7 p.m. (virtual event)
- Join the co-creators of the worldwide sensation “What Were You Wearing? Survivor Art Installation.” Dr. Mary A. Wyandt-Hiebert of the U of A and Jen Brockman of the University of Kansas join together again to share the inspiration for the exhibit and the story to its worldwide popularity. The event will be virtual as the U of A and University of Kansas participate with the discussion together.
- Join this Zoom event. Meeting ID: 820 9672 8952 Passcode: m3T+AjZB
- Sponsored by U of A SRVC with University of Kansas SAPEC.
The Sexual Violence Crisis in Graduate School
April 20 at 6 p.m. (virtual event)
- Multiple topics will be discussed, including consent, victim blaming, bystander intervention, accountability circles and power dynamics. Participants will also discuss options of what to do next when faced with sexual harassment or assault, including potential situations that would put a graduate student’s research or degree on the line.
- Register for the event.
- Sponsored by graduate students.
Take Back the Night
April 22 at 7 p.m. at the Greek Theatre (plus Reynolds Razorback Stadium teal lighting)
- Join us for an evening of solidarity against sexual violence. Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan will officially recognize the event with a proclamation, followed by an evening of varied events such as featured speakers, a Speak Out, a moment of silence and more at this advocacy in action event. Social distancing and mask wearing are to be followed in accordance with university and Arkansas Department of Health COVID guidance.
- Reynolds Razorback Stadium will be lit with teal light from 8-10 p.m.
- Sponsored by SRVC (with special thanks to Razorback Athletics).
Denim Day Exhibition
April 26-30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day at the Anne Kittrell Art Gallery (Arkansas Union, 4th floor)
- An exhibit of jeans with SAAM-related decorations and messages of support and awareness
- Those who would like to participate in helping decorate jeans to be used in the exhibit will need to sign up on Hogsync to receive a pair of jeans.
- Then, jeans will be available to be picked up through April 16.
- Decorated jeans must be returned by April 20 so they can be used as a backdrop for the Take Back the Night event and then exhibited at the Denim Day Exhibition.
- In addition, students are encouraged to wear jeans, denim jackets and denim accessories the week of April 26-30.
- Sponsored by University Programs in partnership with SRVC.
April 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Anne Kittrell Art Galley (Arkansas Union, 4th floor)
- Join us in making DIY teal slime.
- Sponsored by University Programs.