Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Aaron Oechsner, Visual Media Editor

President Barack Obama officially designated the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. This proclamation was announced on March 31 and, through The White House Office of the Press Secretary, sent out as a mass media press release.

At Lakeland College, we are not strangers to the realities of sexual assault and violence. We know that young men and women, even in the smallest communities, are at risk of being sexually assaulted.

Lakeland’s zero tolerance policy in respect with Title IX is designed to raise awareness about sexual assault and deter any future violations. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how it can be prevented.

As a victim of sexual assault, there are different options when reporting an incident. The chaplain on campus, health services or security are available for those who are not sure where and to whom to report the incident.

Sometimes a victim of sexual assault does not want a spotlight on their situation, which is understandable, and that is why reporting to a nurse or chaplain guarantees the victim’s privacy throughout the process.  

If you believe you may be a victim of sexual assault, there are options when it comes to reporting the incident.

Cary Knier, director of counseling services, said, “You can talk to a chaplain, health services, security, or report to Safe Harbor.”

By law, all cases are reported to security and a Title IX investigation needs to be completed by Lakeland.

Sherry Carstens, director of the health center and campus nurse, explained, “This office will be as far as it goes if that is what the victim prefers, but there will be a Title IX investigation that follows.”

Sexual violence is a human rights and social justice issue. The long-term effects of sexual assault have proven to be deadly in extreme cases. Many times, victims lose their dignity or self-worth and ultimately blame themselves for it.

This is a problem in our society and an individual effort is needed to combat this behavior.

Alex Liosatos, campus counselor, is hosting the “Take Back the Night Walk” on Wednesday, April 20 at 7:45p.m. and “Say Something, Do Something” on Thursday, April 21 at 7p.m. in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Week. Both events will be held in the 1862 Lounge.

For more information, contact Liosatos at [email protected].

Also, make sure to show support for Sexual Assault Awareness Month by participating in the 5k walk-run billed as a “Teal-Out.” The event is hosted by the Phi Delta Omega Sorority this Sunday, April 17 at 12 p.m. You can sign up the day of the event. Cost of admission is only $1.

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