Events being offered throughout April to help raise awareness of sexual violence

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — With April being national Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Gender Equity Center will be holding events throughout the month focused on supporting survivors, educating the public about sexual assault, and providing spaces to share stories.

From a survivor art installation to guest speakers Wade Davis and Stevie Tran, the month includes collaborations with resources like the LGBTQA Student Resource Center, Residence Life, and the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA).

“It’s important to us that along with raising awareness of sexual violence, we also include very tangible ways people can take part in prevention efforts, own their role in the culture and environment, and make a positive impact when it comes to ending sexual violence,” said Jennifer Pencek, programming coordinator in the Gender Equity Center. “Sexual violence is not something that happens to ‘others’ or a population outside of your social circle. This impacts us all, and we all have a role to play in prevention.”

The Gender Equity Center, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, will offer the following events in April:

What Were You Wearing? Survivor art installation

Monday, April 2, to Wednesday, April 4

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day

134 HUB-Robeson Center

What Were You Wearing? originated at the University of Arkansas in 2013. Created by Jen Brockman and Mary Wyandt-Hiebert, the project was inspired by Mary Simmerling’s poem "What I Was Wearing." The project’s intent is to challenge the misconception that sexual violence is connected to someone’s clothing. As part of the installation, the Gender Equity Center will display clothing that matches the descriptions in these stories.

Men Against Violence Walk

2:30 p.m. Monday, April 9

Heritage Hall, HUB-Robeson Center

Too often sexual violence is seen as a woman’s issue. Sexual violence affects people of all gender identities, and men in particular need to be allies by engaging in prevention efforts. The Men Against Violence Walk aims to mobilize men to get involved and play a positive role in creating change. The event will kick off with a brief talk and sign-making in Heritage Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center, with the walk outside to follow. All are invited to participate.

The walk is sponsored by Men Against Violence, a peer education group through the Gender Equity Center, and is part of UPUA's Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Week.

Honoring Survival: Transforming the Spirit

6:30 p.m. Monday, April 9

Memorial Lounge, Pasquerilla Spiritual Center

The annual event honors the strength and resiliency of survivors of interpersonal violence and those who support them through the healing process. Through hearing stories from survivors and those who support them through poetry, storytelling and music, the focus is on empowerment and the journey of healing.

The event is co-sponsored by the Centre County Women’s Resource Center and is included as part of UPUA’s Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Week. 

Wade Davis: Won’t you celebrate with me

6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10

Freeman Auditorium, HUB-Robeson Center

"Won’t you celebrate with me" is the title of a poem by Lucille Clinton and the backdrop for a needed conversation about sexual violence and harassment on college campuses. Former NFL player Wade Davis will talk frankly about sexual assault, toxic masculinity, consent, coercion, and long-term prevention strategies. Davis is dedicated to highlighting issues affecting those most marginalized, including an intentional focus on issues directly impacting women and girls.

Davis' talk is co-sponsored by Residence Life and is included as part of UPUA’s Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Week.

Stevie Tran: She’s Still My Fraternity Brother

7 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

233B HUB-Robeson Center

Stevie Tran is an attorney, published author, and speaker whose scholarship focuses on the intersection of diversity litigation and social issues in the transgender community. She is committed to the issues surrounding access to student organizations and the fraternal community. As an alumna member, she remains actively involved with her national fraternity — an organization founded to develop character and leadership in queer and allied men. Tran helped to develop her fraternity’s policy on gender, the most inclusive transgender membership policy for any fraternal organization.

Trans' talk is co-sponsored by the LGBTQA Student Resource Center.

For more information on Sexual Assault Awareness Month programming, visit studentaffairs.psu.edu/genderequity or contact the Gender Equity Center at 814-863-2027 or genderequity@psu.edu

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Last Updated March 27, 2018