Lipscomb hosts sexual assault awareness week to help promote safe campus environment

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The Lipscomb University community has an opportunity this week to learn about the issue of sexual assault and resources that are available on campus for survivors during Sexual Assault Awareness Week 2016 taking place April 18-22.

A series of activities is planned to promote a safe campus with preventative education and raised awareness of issues of sexual assault, sexism, stalking, sexual harassment and gender-based bullying among other similar issues.

One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, according to a recent National Sexual Violence Resource Center study. The study also shows that more than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault, and that in eight out of ten cases of rape, the victim knew the person who sexually assaulted them.

“Every 21 hours there is a sexual assault committed on an American college campus,” said Kathy Hargis, associate vice president for risk management and compliance and Title IX officer. “As a society in general, issues involving sexual assault, domestic violence and other related crimes have been much more in the forefront of conversations within higher education.  College campuses represent a transition for individuals between a more sheltered childhood to adulthood. Statistics show that traditional students in the 18-24 age group are more vulnerable to sexual assault and related practices than any other demographic group.”

Hargis said with sexual assault and other related Title IX issues making headlines across the country, universities need to be proactive in combating these practices through initiatives dealing with education and prevention.

“By creating an awareness of these issues and the resources available on campus  for people to get help, we take a step forward in making our own community and the world around us a safer place to study, live and work,” said Hargis. “Lipscomb’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week 2016 was planned to do just that, and to get the conversation started on our campus so there is a greater awareness of what sexual assault, harassment, gender-based bullying and other behaviors are and what to do about it when you encounter them.”

April is national sexual assault awareness and prevention month. Lipscomb’s awareness week is designed to raise awareness through a series of events this week. Events include:

Quilt Workshops – all week
Throughout the week, students will be provided with multiple opportunities to create their own additions to the Monument Quilt.

You’re Not Alone – all week
While students are always welcome to walk in to the Lipscomb University Counseling Center with an immediate problem, during this week counselors will be made available so that a survivor of sexual assault can come in at any time and start having conversations about their story.

Paint the Campus Red – all week
To raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses, educate student about Lipscomb’s Amnesty Policy and empower students to intervene as bystanders, information will be spread across the campus on lawn signs, posters and displays, Hargis said.

Campus Sexual Climate Survey – all week
Every year, the university provides students with a chance to share anonymously about their experiences of sexism, stalking, sexual harassment, sexual assault and gender-based bullying. The survey will close at the end of this week.

Take Back the Night – Thursday, April 21, 8:00 p.m. Flat Amphitheater
Hargis said the campus will be mobilized against sexual assault with a public opportunity for survivors and allies to share their stories, culminating is a prayer walk across campus for justice, healing and protection.

Signage across campus will highlight statistics and other information to also create awareness, said Hargis.

Sexual Assault Awareness Week 2016 is sponsored by Lipscomb’s office of risk management, the university counseling center and campus ministry office and campus life.

For more information, visit www.lipscomb.edu/beheard.