Breaking the silence

SAAM brings awareness to campus

April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month — a month dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence.

To promote awareness, FSU’s Committee on Sexual Assault will host “Shattering the Silence of Sexual Violence,” April 13, at 7 p.m. in BUS 111.

The Department of Justice estimates that nearly 20 percent of women and 6 percent of men who go to college will become victims of an attempted or actual sexual assault.

The event is part of Sexual and Relationship Violence Awareness Week. Funded by a faculty/staff diversity mini-grant from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the event will create a space for open dialogue on a very sensitive issue.

“Our goal is to educate the community on important issues of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Kristin Norton, director of the Office of Student Conduct. “We want to make Ferris a safe place for everyone.”

The Office of the Dean of Student Life, the Office of Student Conduct and the FSU Counseling center will sponsor the event, which will be hosted by The Office of Multicultural Student Services, Wise, Inc., and the Social Work Association.

The event is aimed at survivors of sexual violence by providing a forum for them to shatter their silence and speak out. It is also designed to empower survivors by hearing from others who have gone through similar experiences. Organizers of the event hope to provide a support network as well as generate “allies” who will join together to speak out against sexual violence.

“Hopefully we will raise awareness and empower students to make a difference, as well as educate people on the scope of the problem,” said Norton.

Angela Rose, a grassroots activist who orchestrates national protests and campaigns through the non-profit PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, will be sharing her personal experiences on sexual violence.

“When people hear from victims who have experienced this and share how they were able to overcome it and the process involved, it makes it so real,” said Rose.

Rose, the founder and executive director of PAVE, draws from her own experience with sexual violence. She notes that many victims know their perpetrators, and focuses on how men and women can mutually be part of the solution.

“I think it’s always a good idea to teach people about these kinds of things,” said FSU freshman Meredith Twiss. “This is something that is very important and it’s always a good opportunity to learn more and hear people’s stories.”

“Many people think that this is just a women’s issue,” Norton said. “However, a lot of men play a role on their victims as well as a role in stopping it.”

The event is part of Sexual and Relationship Violence Awareness Week. For more information on “Shattering the Silence of Sexual Violence,” call ext. 2949. For information on sexual assault contact WISE at 796-0358, or the FSU Counseling Center. n