This Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Speak Out
by Dr. Carrie Caudill | Associate Professor of Psychology - April 13, 2021
For over 15 years in clinical practice, I heard clients describe experiences of sexual assault from their college years in graphic detail. Compounding the trauma is their fear and shame that others in their life may think “they were asking for it” by what they were wearing, drinking, or where they were during the incident. On the other hand, I’ve heard from those who felt supported by their campus environment, who received supportive and knowledgeable care, and the latter is one of the aims of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Although often underreported, sexual assaults occur worldwide on college campuses. Data from the Association of American Universities in 2019 reported an alarming rate of 13% of non-consensual sexual contact at colleges and universities. Moreover, the #MeToo movement is one that too many college students can identify with. Fear of social, political, or career reprisal has muted too many for too long. Now a wave of social disapproval, particularly by high-profile public figures, indicates a shift in the climate. Nevertheless, survivor-blaming and cultural values that reduce one’s humanity to their sexuality are still too common.
Students who have been sexually assaulted are not alone. Newberry College will support these students with counseling resources and Title IX advocacy. Legal processes are also available with advocacy support through Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, a local nonprofit that provides survivors with free counseling support, survivor advocacy, and legal counsel, if desired.
Sexual assault is preventable! Many human injustices have been reduced and even eliminated through education and efforts to influence public consciousness. This is our goal at Newberry College, especially in the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences has collaborated with other campus organizations to provide events and programming to educate and facilitate change.
Support our events and speak out for survivors to END all sexual assault!
Upcoming Sexual Assault Awareness Month events:
April 21 at 4:30 p.m. | Walk Like a Wolf. This fundraising walk around the Newberry College campus benefits Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. Sponsored by the Newberry College Social Justice Club and Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology.
April 27 at 7 p.m. | Empowering Yoga. All are welcome from a trauma-informed yoga session on the campus Quad. Please RSVP to Carrie.Caudill@newberry.edu for a mat and a socially distanced space. Sponsored by the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences and Newberry Yoga.
April 28 | Denim Day encourages everyone to wear jeans to support survivors of sexual assault and to spread awareness about all forms of sexual violence and resources that are available. Sponsored by the Newberry College Office of Health and Counseling Services.