April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and the group KNOW MORE is utilizing it to promote events that raise attention about sexual assault on college campuses. KNOW MORE is an organization of Student Life whose purpose is to provide critical information on the prevention of sexual violence, alcohol, narcotics and bystander intervention to the Seton Hall campus community. While KNOW MORE provides programs all year long that seek to raise awareness about sexual violence and the support available to survivors, they focus particularly on campaigning during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
This month there will be several events to promote this mission such as the Purple Chair Campaign, which began April 3. All month purple chairs that include an individual’s story which reflects the reality of how sexual violence affects us all are displayed around campus.
Another event planned by KNOW MORE is the Clothesline Project, in which a student decorates a T-shirt with their story or message of support and advocacy. Creative campaigns such as these will occur throughout the month with the aim to increase interest and knowledge on the matter.
Nicole Giglia, associate director of Student Life and director of KNOW MORE, said in an email to The Setonian that the organization’s main goals include educating students on the prevention of sexual violence, as well as raising awareness for the resources and support available to those who have experienced sexual violence.
“The reason why it is so important to educate students about sexual violence is because 1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault at some point in her college career,” Giglia said.
According to Campus Safety (CS) magazine, students living in a sorority house or on-campus housing are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than those living off campus. Also, men involved in fraternities and/or aggressive sports such as football, soccer, basketball and wrestling are statistically proven to more likely to be the perpetrators in these situations. This group also scores higher on measures thought to be associated with sexual coercion such as sexism, acceptance of violence, hostility toward women and rape myth acceptance.
KNOW MORE not only promotes awareness on sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention, but it also provides information on alcohol and other narcotics. Along the same vein, it should be considered that in 69% of sexual assaults the perpetrator had been intoxicated, and in 43% of these cases the victim also had consumed alcohol. Organizations such as KNOW MORE stress the importance of being attentive that harmful situations can and do often arise with the presence of alcohol abuse throughout college campuses.
In fact, 84% of women who report these assaults tend to be in their first four semesters on campus.
When presented with these facts, sophomore biology major Sam Russo didn’t seem stunned.
“The statistics are not surprising because I have known so many people who have been victims of sexual assault,” Russo said. “It makes you realize that it can happen to anyone, including yourself.” “Awareness can help keep people out of these certain situations and teach others how to be safe, but in the end, it doesn’t necessarily stop people from assaulting others.”
Only about two percent of all sexual assault accusations reported to police turn out to be false, so sexual assault awareness is a serious matter to recognize. KNOW MORE collaborates with various campus partners such as Athletics, Fraternity & Sorority Life and ROTC, because stopping sexual violence is a community effort.
Caitlin Gartley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.