Mark Lewis, dean of students and Title IX investigator, and the Office of Residence Life Education and Housing and several School of Social Work students have set up the events that will take place for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
They are working to give students an active role in prevention and awareness, said Selena Ellis, Marriage and Family Institute intern.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month kicked off with an email from The Depot about some of the events that will take place to raise awareness.
Included in the email was a link to a OneStudentOrg video called The Game: #iamonestudent. The video showed Chaz Smith, who created the video, speaking about rape culture, specifically addressing male roles.
The video offers steps for supporting survivors and reducing sexual violence. The film highlights the fact that no means no, women are not the only victims in rape culture and that attempts to be supportive can often post blame.
Mark Jackson, associate director of student organizations and programs, said there was talk about including a sexual assault presentation in Chapel, but it has yet to be confirmed.
There will be an information table stationed in the Campus Center from April 13-17 to teach students about bystander intervention, reporting and statistics. There will also be a poetry slam in Edwards Hall from 8-9:30 p.m. to take back the night with the power of words.
“Anything we can do, as a campus and as a community, to talk about sexual assault is a good thing,” Jackson said. “A lot of times, if something were to occur for whatever reason, oftentimes people don’t talk about it. I think any dialogue is good dialogue.”
ACU Police Department Chief Jimmy Ellison said, while ACU is not necessarily at a higher threat level for sexual assault, it is by no means unaffected by it.
“Sexual assaults know no boundaries in terms of public institutions, private institutions or faith-based institutions,” Ellison said. “It is a problem nationwide, in our culture and in our society, and ACU is not immune to it.”
The ACU Police Department, as well as various offices on campus, knows this is an important issue to address on campus. Though reporting assaults and bystander intervention is the primary focus this month, ACUPD would also like to bring attention to the importance of preventing assault and what to do in case an assault occurs.
“If someone is a victim of sexual assault, in addition to assistance from ACUPD, there is a lot of help they can get elsewhere – professional counseling both on and off campus and much needed support from the ACU Student Life staff – that can remain anonymous,” said ACUPD Lt. Randy Mots. “People are sometimes reluctant to report because they really don’t know what to do, and we want them to know that the first place to start is to talk to with the ACU Police Department.”