Each year, approximately 300,000 individuals become victims of sexual assault and as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the month of April is set aside to learn more about this prevalent issue.
To raise awareness of sexual assault on Messiah’s campus, the Department of Safety hosted the Carlisle YWCA yesterday afternoon in the Eisenhower Campus Center.
The YWCA set up tables in front of the campus store to answer questions and promote the “NO MORE” campaign. This campaign prompted students to sign their names on a display board to pledge to say “no more” to sexual assault. Students who signed their names were also asked to write down their reasons for wanting to end the issue; those who did so received a teal ribbon sticker to symbolize the prevention of sexual violence.
“I think the biggest role that students have in [the sexual assault issue] is just understanding what consent is and understanding healthy relationships,” YWCA representative Shannon Snyder said. “To make the changes that need to happen for a healthy future, we all need to be on board. We all need to make those steps to make sure that everyone is safe.”
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. Additionally, approximately 90% of sexual violence victims on college campuses do not report the crime to law enforcement. However, Messiah recently emailed an NSVRC newsletter to the study body that states, “Prevention requires many voices and roles. There are many ways individuals, communities, and the private sector can take action to promote safety, respect, and equality. It is possible to create communities where everyone is treated with respect and equality. This can be done by promoting safe behaviors, thoughtful policies, and healthy relationships.”
“I think sexual assault is important to talk about, and I don’t think it gets talked about enough on college campuses,” sophomore social work major Sara Smith said. “I appreciate that Messiah is raising awareness for an issue that affects so many people.”
The YWCA will return to Messiah on April 21 to continue the conversation regarding sexual assault and violence. In the meantime, visit www.ymcacarlisle.org for more information on Sexual Assault Awareness Month and how you can say “NO MORE.”
Alyssa Burd, Online Editor
Alyssa is a sophomore journalism major who hails from the beautiful land of Hess 1st.