Students fight sexual assault with awareness

Amanda Morris
Students for Sexual Respect and the Feminist Society host “The Female Orgasm” event on Sunday.

In recognition of April being sexual assault awareness month, Students for Sexual Respect at NYU have organized a series of events ranging from film screenings to presentations to encourage students to engage in a conversation surrounding sexual abuse.

Gallatin sophomore Josy Jablons, President of SSR, said the events this month are designed not only to raise awareness, but also to promote action.

“Students for Sexual Respect approaches April in two ways: a month for awareness, but also a month for activism,” Jablons said. “We strive to create awareness campaigns, such as our photography project, #BetterSexTalk, educational efforts, [Sunday’s] Female Orgasm event, a program about sex ed and meetings that encourage greater change — like meaningful policy reform.”

The monthlong series will conclude with a Take Back the Night rally on April 30 in Washington Square Park, during which students will stand in solidarity with those affected by sexual assault.

Tisch junior Alexandra Hoopes, who attended SSR’s Female Orgasm workshop, said she hopes the events will aid in reducing sexual assaults on campus.

“Sexual assault awareness is important to me because it’s a topic that many people are uncomfortable addressing, whether they are bystanders or victims,” Hoopes said. “I don’t think this week is just about awareness — that is, knowing what constitutes assault — because it’s unique to each person, but rather the actions we can take to prevent assault from happening in the first place.”

CAS junior Meghan Racklin, who is president of The Feminist Society at NYU and treasurer of SSR, said it is particularly important to create a safe environment on college campuses where students feel comfortable discussing sexual assault.

“In the case of campus sexual assault specifically, this is an issue of equal opportunity to access a safe education,” Racklin said. “We need survivor-centered policies so that those who are assaulted are not denied their right to feel safe on campus, and denied their ability to access their right to education in safety.”

Racklin added that the month allows people from underrepresented communities to express their views.

“Sexual assault impacts people of every sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity and ability,” Racklin said. “Our activism, both in terms of content and in terms of participants, needs to reflect that. It is, ultimately, up to us to ensure that all voices are being heard.”

Steinhardt freshman Katie-Rose Nunziato said the events planned for this month serve as a platform for people who have experienced sexual assault to open up.

“As for me, since I myself am a survivor of sexual assault, I will take advantage of this month to make my voice heard and add my own story to the countless others that have been told,” Nunziato said. “The more personal we make these issues, the less people can look away.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 14 print edition. Email Amanda Morris at [email protected]

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