Sexual Assault Awareness Month to Include Survivor Stories and Documentary Film

Sexual assault awareness month flag project, 2010
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Sexual assault awareness month flag project, 2010

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sexual Assault Awareness Month starts with “Life Beyond Rape: Survivor Stories” with several more events to be held during the month of April, culminating in the ninth annual Take Back the Night March on Friday, April 15.

Leading into the month-long agenda in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a presentation titled “Life Beyond Rape: Survivor Stories” will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in the Pat Walker Health Center Atrium. Survivors of sexual assault will share their stories as an inspiration that there is life after rape and to dispel myths associated with victim-blaming. The Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Agency is cosponsoring the presentation.

An exhibit, “The Survivors’ Wall,” will be on display at the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building on April 4-8, the Mullins Library on April 11-15, the Multicultural Center on April 18-22, and the Pat Walker Health Center on April 25-29. This compelling exhibit will feature stories and messages from survivors of sexual assault presented as a powerful and moving display of courage from those willing to speak out.

STAR Central and RESPECT, an acronym for Rape Education Services by Peers Encouraging Conscious Thought, will sponsor and lead a number of educational and awareness events during the month of April to address and speak out against sexual assault and violence, particularly violence against women.

STAR Central, an office in the Pat Walker Health Center for Support, Training, Advocacy and Resources on Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence, was developed in 1998 and has since been addressing the issues of sexual assault and relationship violence through the provision of awareness campaigns, education programs, and victim advocacy services. As a program of STAR Central, RESPECT began in 2000 as a way to further reach out to university students through the use of peer education. RESPECT provides interactive, educational programs by college students for college students.

In its second year, “The Fourth Flag Project” will be on display daily April 14-21 in the courtyard between the Arkansas Union and Mullins Library. Fall 2011 enrollment statistics indicate that 10,397 women are enrolled at the University of Arkansas. Nationally, 1 in 4 college women are sexually assaulted. This powerful display will have 2,599 small flags on exhibit and representing every fourth female student on campus. The flags boldly state, “1 in 4 no more.”

A documentary film titled Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex, and Power in Music Video will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in Giffels Auditorium of Old Main. Following the updated, abridged version of Sut Jhally’s classic documentary, a forum will be held. This event is co-sponsored with the Associated Student Government.

This year marks the sixth annual Dress Down to Raise Awareness Day to be held on Friday, April 15. As a way for area businesses and organizations to raise awareness within the workplace, participants of this event pay $10 and receive a glow-in-the-dark T-shirt to wear with their jeans to work for the day while making a “fashion statement.”

 
Take Back the Night rally, 2010

As the culmination of the month, the ninth annual Northwest Arkansas Take Back the Night March will be held on Friday, April 15. Gathering will begin at the Arvest Plaza on the Fayetteville Square with opening remarks at 7 p.m. by Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan, who will read a proclamation. Participants will march to the University of Arkansas via East Avenue, Dickson Street, and up through the lawn of Old Main to the re-gathering place in the courtyard between the Arkansas Union and Mullins Library. At the re-gathering, a candlelight vigil will be held in remembrance of and honoring the survivors of sexual and relationship violence. Additionally, inspirational words and songs along with a speak-out will occur to allow all to have a voice as the participants unify against violence against women. The Fourth Flag Project will remain on display that evening for participants to view after the march.

For additional information or to schedule an interview, please contact Dr. Mary A. Wyandt-Hiebert at 479-575-7252 or visit the RESPECT website. The STAR Central Office and RESPECT are dedicated to and dream of a day when sexual and relationship violence no longer exist.

Contacts

Scott Flanagin, director of communications and outreach
Division of Student Affairs
479-575-6785, sflanagi@uark.edu

Dr. Mary A. Wyandt-Hiebert, director, STAR Central
Advisor, RESPECT
479-575-7252, mwyandt@uark.edu

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu

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