In an effort to increase awareness of sexual assault on campus, members of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center's Peer Education program had a number of stations out on the Diag Wednesday afternoon, showcasing different aspects of healthy relationships and consent.
Nursing senior Lena Briggs, peer education co-coordinator at SAPAC, helped organize the event — consisting of the education station, the policy and activism table, the swag station and the self-care table — and said she hoped it brought visibility to key issues SAPAC focuses on.
“We want to spread messages of positivity around healthy relationships and around consent so that people can engage in these behaviors with their partners and their peers,” Briggs said. “We also want to create a more positive culture around campus and hopefully prevent any violence as well.”
To achieve this goal, the education station focused on providing students with facts and statistics on sexual assault through an educational game. LSA senior Andreea Taran, a SAPAC volunteer, helped run the station.
“We are going through some statements on healthy relationships, consent and sexual assault that are kind of controversial, like false reporting statistics,” Taran said.
The policy and activism station featured pamphlets discussing sexual assault prevention policies and ways to contact local representatives, the swag station handed out SAPAC resources and the self-care station aided students facing exam stress.
“Healthy relationships are centered around equality, respect and love,” Briggs said. “People should feel empowered enough to say ‘no’ when they want to, they should ask for consent in any sexual activity and know that consent is easy.”
The event partnered with Raise the Bar, a program that trains personnel at local bars around campus in bystander intervention in sexual assault. Students were encouraged to visit all four stations to be entered into a raffle for prizes sponsored by the bars participating in the program.
“Consent is all about showing respect for your partner and for yourself, and we are all about establishing that as a precursor to help fight sexual assault on campus,” Taran said.
Some of the many bars participating in the Raise the Bar program include Good Time Charley’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, HopCat and Brown Jug.
SAPAC hopes this event will contribute to their overall goals of eradicating sexual assault, stalking, sexual harassment and intimate partner violence. They hope to achieve this through education, activism and policy shaping and development.
Art & Design sophomore Tarik Dobbs discussed what he took away from the event and why he believes sexual assault awareness to be a key issue on campus.
“You get to see activism happening on a larger scale and in a way where you can make a bigger difference,” Dobbs said. “I think sexual assault is a big issue because we are in a place where we need a lot of reform and attention to it.”
LSA freshman Taiye Adolphus also revealed her reasons for attending the event, and mentioned her desire to become more involved with SAPAC in the future.
“I was just walking through the Diag, but since I’m not familiar with SAPAC, I figured I’d come and talk to people and see what it’s about,” Adolphus said. “I might join next fall and volunteer.”
When asked about SAPAC’s role on campus, Taran related her hopes for its impact.
“We want to establish positive healthy relationship norms through talking about consent and healthy relationships within the community, and to reinforce the idea that consent is about mutual respect,” she said.