Let’s Talk About It: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual misconduct is an intrusive problem in the American society that occurs too often and with serious implications. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and Northwestern University, together with non-profit organizations and student groups, has created a series of initiatives to open dialogues about widespread sexual violence and how it impacts every person in this community. The Women’s Center, the Center for Awareness, Response and Education (CARE), and Northwestern College Feminists are some of the primary sponsors of this year’s events. Their main goals include educating the community, speaking out against sexual assault, and joining advocates across the country in taking action to prevent sexual violence.

Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault (MARS) and Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators (SHAPE) invite any masculine-identifying person to join the dialogue: Men at Take Back the Night March and discuss male allyship on April 22 from 12–1:30 p.m. in the Norris Lake Room. Students interested in race, gender, and the struggle for bodily autonomy, can attend a documentary screening of Birthright: A War Story and a post-film discussion with the film's screenwriter, Luchina Fisher, and director, Civia Tamarkin, on April 23 from 7–10 p.m. in Annie May Swift.

Survivors of sexual assault are invited to participate in the workshop Ignacio Rivera: Sexy Survivor on April 24 at 6 p.m. in the Armadillo Room. The event consists of a creative and interactive dialogue led by activist Ignacio Rivera around survivors of sexual abuse and how they have navigated safe, empowering, sexually healthy lives. It is also a forum for partners and allies of survivors to gain tools in supporting survivors. Space for this event is limited to 40 seats; therefore, this event will be open to survivors only.

Wrong Way Journey is a one-hour performance by RC Riley about how being raised in a strict, evangelical Christian household affected her healing process after being sexually assaulted. Riley will share their inspiring story on April 25 from 6:30–7:30 p.m. in Lutkin Hall.

Come show your support for survivors as students and faculty march from the Rock down Sheridan to Norris for the Take Back the Night march on April 26 from 5:30–8:30 p.m. The march will begin with speaker Asha Sawnhi, and a survivor speakout will follow in the Dittmar Gallery at 7 p.m.

If what you need is some relaxation time, come enjoy the wellness day at the Women’s Center on April 27 from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Throughout the day, there will be opportunities for individual healing including walk-in hours with CAPS and CARE, meditation, tarot reading, and coloring. That same day from 2–4 p.m. at the Wirtz Black Box 201, any theater artists, writers, filmmakers, and content creators can participate in the interactive workshop Art in the Age of #MeToo. The event will include a discussion, a short staged reading, and specialized breakout sessions. Feel free to bring any scripts or other creative content you want to workshop.

The film Light of the Moon will be screened on April 29 from 7–9 p.m. at Harris Hall. A discussion about how to support loved ones who have experienced sexual violence will follow the screening.

The programming will come to a close with a Title IX Panel,on May 1 from 5–6:30 p.m. in the Norris Rock Room. This is a great opportunity to learn what it means to file a Title IX complaint and what the reporting process looks like at Northwestern.