WASHINGTON — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Even before its official designation in 2001, campuses, crisis centers and survivor-advocates across the nation took time during the Spring to recommit to the eradication of sexual violence in society. As the most underreported crime on college campuses, sexual assault is unfortunately common among college students of all ages, races, and ethnicities.
Data from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network on national college sexual violence indicates that one in five women in college have experienced a sexual assault and transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming (TGQN) students experience similar rates of victimization. While female students are nearly 20 percent less likely to experience an assault than their peers of the same age that did not attend college, men in college are more likely (78 percent) to experience an assault than those in their age group that did not attend college. Figures like this stress the importance of sexual assault and abuse as a pressing public health issue of particular interest to college and university communities.
Howard University remains vigilant in addressing the environmental and community-level factors of campus sexual assault. In 2018, the University launched HU Stands – a sexual assault awareness campaign geared toward raising awareness, provoking advocacy, and acting against sexual assault and all forms of interpersonal violence on our campus. Since its launch, over hundreds of community members have taken the pledge. Please see below for what is in store for the month of April at Howard.
SAAM Events and Activities This Month
This April, we ask members of the community to join the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Program, Title IX and other campus service offices in renewing your commitment to taking an active role in preventing sexual assault on campus. Please see a list below of events, activities, and ways to support prevention activities on campus.
- Take the HU Stands pledge at our table: The Interpersonal Violence Prevention Program (IVPP) will be tabling throughout the month of April to encourage the campus community to take the HU Stands pledge. Once you take the pledge, you will receive your SAAM teal ribbon and other tokens of commemoration while supplies last. If you can’t make it to the table, you can still take the HU Stands pledge here.
- Volunteer with IVPP: The program is looking for passionate, dedicated campus change-agents to support our street, social media and programming teams. Complete the volunteer interest form to receive more information.
- New program webpage – The new IVPP webpage is live. The site provides information on IVPP services, trainings and programs as well as campus, local and national crisis resources
Join PPVI and UGSA on Thursday, April 14 at 5 pm in Douglass Hall, room 104 for a classic game of Jeopardy with a healthy interpersonal twist. Topics and themes will highlight campus resources and the tenants of health interpersonal reaction. Those interested in participating can select “participate in IVPP Jeopardy” in the volunteer offerings.
- The next iteration of the Clothesline Project at Howard University will be Wednesday, April 20 in the College Hall South Multipurpose Room. Participants will have materials to design a T-shirt in acknowledgment of someone who has experienced interpersonal violence. Registration is requested as space and supplies are limited.
- Participate in #HUDenimDay2022: As the longest running sexual violence prevention and education campaign in history, Denim Day asks change-agents across the world to make a social statement with their fashion by wearing jeans as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence. Learn why here. HU will close out SAAM with a show of solidarity as participants will be asked to post pictures in their denim using the hashtags: #HUStands, #DenimDayHU2022. We will use Denim Day to close out SAAM and remind ourselves that the work must continue year-round, #NotJustApril.
Title IX Turns 50
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the landmark federal law prohibiting discrimination based on sex or gender in federally funded education programs. Under Title IX, discrimination based on sex or gender includes sexual assault. Visit the Title IX Office website to learn more about Howard University’s policy on gender-based harassment and sexual misconduct as well as the range of reporting, prevention, educational and supportive resources implemented by the University to address sexual assault and all forms of gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence.
If you missed the recent virtual event, “Title IX @ 50: Where We’ve Been and Where We Need to Go,” you can watch it here to learn about the history, evolution, and impact of Title IX. The event featured Tanyka Barber from the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) in conversation with Josephine Jarpa Dawuni, founding director of the Howard University Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership, and included a discussion of the challenges and opportunities facing HBCUs as relates to Title IX.
Sexual Assault Prevention Training
A key component in sexual assault prevention is education. While Sexual Assault Awareness Month provides an opportunity to learn more about sexual assault and the roles we can all play in helping to prevent it, note that such learning opportunities are ongoing at Howard University. All Howard students are assigned online training in sexual assault prevention and all faculty and staff members are assigned separate online training in preventing discrimination and harassment, including sexual assault. Many of the questions members of our community ask about sexual assault (as well as other forms of gender-based discrimination and harassment), the rights and protections provided under the Title IX policy, and the University’s response and prevention efforts are addressed in these trainings. programs. If you have not yet completed your required training, please take approximately one hour of your time during Sexual Assault Awareness Month to do so. Completing this training is one small but important step in your commitment to helping cultivate a safe, respectful and inclusive learning environment here at Howard. If you have questions about the training or how to access it, visit the Title IX training webpage.
Campus sexual assault is a complex social and campus issue, and all community members must do their part to eradicate it from our campus.
About Howard University
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.