Your voice has power. This is the short, yet powerful message that is being spread around Hope College’s campus this April for Sexual Assault Awareness month. As hard as it is to hear the statistics, the numbers are clear: sexual assault is a common experience and often goes unreported. It’s important to know the facts. The following numbers are from nsrvc.com (national sexual violence resource center). Warning: some of these statistics may be triggering for those who have experienced sexual assault.
1 in 5 women have experienced completed or attempted rape in their lives. These women have a 50-95% chance of developing post-traumatic stress disorder after being raped. 1 in 2 have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime. 41% report experiencing physically aggressive street harassment and 1 in 3 experience physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.
Although women are more often victims of sexual assault, men are also targeted. 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before age 16 and only 26.2% of men who experienced childhood sexual abuse disclosed this information at the time of the abuse. 18% of men reported experiencing verbal street harassment and 1 in 67 men in the United States have experienced rape or attempted rape and 1 in 5 men have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime.
These numbers are staggering and may be shocking to some. Unfortunately, 67.5% of instances of rape are estimated to go unreported and fewer than 5% of completed or attempted rapes against college women were reported to law enforcement in this past year. Sexual violence is perpetuated by silence. The message of this month is to speak out.
Hope’s STEP program (Students Teaching and Empowering Peers) is sponsoring many events this April to aid victims and to spread awareness. There have already been some great events on campus but don’t fret if you haven’t had the opportunity to participate. Moving forward, keep these events in mind while planning your week:
Wednesday, April 10th: Trauma Sensitive Yoga for Survivors 8pm in the DOW room 208.
This is a Christ-centered yoga practice intended to help trauma survivors physiologically recover from traumatic experiences. Because the body oftentimes holds onto traumatic experiences in a variety of ways, trauma-sensitive holy yoga uses unique postures and breath exercises that promote awareness, release and healing in a safe environment. This event is free! Bring a mat if you have one.
Friday, April 12th: Self Care Night 5- 7pm, Kruizenga Art Museum
Come out to the KAM for a lot of self-care related activities such as coloring, meditation, stress balls and ice cream sundaes!
Friday, April 14th: Monday, April 16th: The Clothesline project is up in the Bultman Student Center
The Clothesline Project honors survivors and victims of interpersonal violence. Anyone who has experiences IPV is encouraged to create a shirt. It is the very simple process of designing a shirt that gives each person a new voice with which to expose an often horrific and unspeakable experience that has dramatically altered the course of their life.
Tuesday, April 17th: Take Back the Night at 7pm in the Martha Miller Rotunda
This is one of the largest events during SAAM. This is a night to support and honor victims and survivors of sexual assault by listening to student testimonies and realluying across campus. The first 50 people at the event get a free T-shirt!
Saturday, April 21st: “It’s On Us” Men’s Lacrosse Game 4pm at Hope
Hope will be playing against Adrian. Wear your “It’s On Us” shirts to the game or purchase one there for $5!
Wednesday, April 25th: #DenimDay: Wear denim all day! Prayer in chapel
Wear jeans with a purpose! Denim Day aims to raise awareness of and prevent victim- blaming attitudes. Learn more at http://denimdayinfo.org/
Friday, April 27th: Look for the STEP booth at Spring Fling
Look for “Affirmative Consent Pies!”
Tuesday, May 1st: Embrace Your Voice Panel: 6 – 7:30pm at the Herrick District Library, doors open at 5:30pm.
This will feature a 2-part panel discussion with the voices of survivors and those working with survivors as well as those working in prevention. Partners include Center for Women in Transition, Children’s Advocacy Center, Kent County Health Department, Equality Michigan, Hope College STEP, and more!