Mar 27, 2018 | Atlanta, GA
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate Georgia Tech on how to create a violence free community. This year, VOICE, Health Initiatives’ sexual and relationship violence prevention and survivor support initiative, is adopting the national theme “Embrace Your Voice,” to inform individuals on how they can use their words to promote safety, respect, and equality to stop sexual violence before it happens.
Sexual violence affects people of all gender identities and compromises the safety and well-being of the entire Georgia Tech community. An estimated one in five women, and one in 17 men, experience sexual assault by the time they graduate from college. Nationally, survivors and their allies are embracing their voices to tell their stories in various movements including, #MeToo and Times Up. We are strongest when we raise our diverse voices together and work collectively to foster attitudes that promote healthy relationships, equality, and respect in our world and on our campus. Health Initiatives along with the Women’s Resource Center created numerous events throughout the month for the entire Georgia Tech community. Learn how you can embrace your voice to create a culture of respect, equality, and safety through these events.
SAAM kicks off with the 24th annual Take Back the Night event on Monday, April 2. This candlelight vigil honors survivors of sexual and relationship violence. Students and staff will share stories of their experience with sexual or relationship violence, either through anonymous submissions or by reading about it at the vigil. VOICE advocate Jennifer Gagen of Health Initiatives shared that “Take Back the Night is a time of reflection and community to support survivors and listen to their stories. It’s a beautiful event that gives a voice to so many who often feel like theirs is lost.” All members of the Georgia Tech community are encouraged to attend in order to support and elevate the voices of survivors.
The month culminates with the fifth annual Teal Ribbon Day on Thursday, April 12. Teal is the color of sexual violence awareness and Teal Ribbon Day is about embracing our voices to inspire action and create lasting change. Faculty and staff check your Georgia Tech mailboxes early April for your teal ribbon. Students can find ribbons in Health Initiatives and the Women’s Resource Center or you can request them at email@example.com. Help us “paint” Georgia Tech teal by wearing these ribbons in support of survivors. “It is extremely powerful to show a unified display of support for survivors and advocacy for sexual violence prevention across campus,” said VOICE advocate Amanda Planchard of Health Initiatives. There are several ways that you can participate in Teal Ribbon Day:
• Join us for a photo at 11:15 a.m. at the Free Speech Amphitheater behind the Ferst Center for the Arts on April 12 to show support for survivors and advocacy.
• Wear a teal ribbon throughout the entire month and take a photo of yourself, your peers, friends, or colleagues. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share on our Facebook page (Georgia Tech Health Initiatives).
• Share your photo on your social media page and tag Health Initiatives (Instagram: @GTHealthInitiatives, Twitter: @HealthyGT). Please use the hashtag: #useyourVOICEGT.
• Request additional ribbons for your class/student organization/department by emailing email@example.com.
On any day of the year, you can learn more about VOICE, by visiting healthinitiatives.gatech.edu/voice. Additionally, we invite faculty, staff, and students to our Sexual Violence Prevention Alliance (SVPA). Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about SVPA or to sign up for our email list so you can stay up to date on events and programs throughout the year. Students who want to be involved throughout the can join the student organization, People Against Unwanted Sexual Experiences (PAUSE) by emailing pause.GT@gmail.com. Additionally, thank you to all of the campus partners associated with this event. This month would not be possible without the support of Health Initiatives, PAUSE, SVPA and the Women’s Resource Center.