University Park campus hosts Sexual Assault Awareness Month events

April 02, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Across the University, Penn State departments and organizations are holding events in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). At the University Park campus, the Center for Women Students and the Department of Women's Studies, along with the Centre County Women's Resource Center, are presenting a three-day "teach-in" of educational, scholarly and community events. Held April 2-4 at the University Park campus, the series is titled "Feminist Responses: Sexual Assault, Social Power, Personal Healing."

The teach-in begins Monday night, April 2, with an opening reception from 7 to 10 p.m. at 129B HUB-Robeson Center. Bill Doan, professor of theatre and associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Arts and Architecture, kicks off the evening with a performance reading, followed by an open mic and a display the Clothesline Project.

Tuesday, April 3, is the national SAAM Day of Action, in which nationally coordinated events aim to raise public awareness about sexual violence and specific ways people can get involved in its prevention. Triota, the women's studies honor society, will lead a sexual assault awareness information table from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 3-4 in the HUB-Robeson Center. Also, afternoon panel discussions at the HUB-Robeson Center Auditorium will examine the teach-in themes of healing and power:

-- From noon to 1:30 p.m., Dana Cuomo, a doctoral candidate in both geography and women's studies, will chair the "Healing is Dealing" discussion featuring panelists Peggy Lorah, a licensed professional counselor and director of the Center for Women Students (CWS); Audra Hixson, CWS special programs and training coordinator; and Jessica Smith-Effrig, a doctoral student in the College of Education's counseling psychology program.

-- "Sexual Violence and Institutional Power," held from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the HUB Auditorium, will be chaired by Melissa Wright, professor of geography and women's studies. Scheduled panelists are Justine Andronici, founding director of the Centre County Women’s Resource Center’s Civil Legal Representation Project and a civil rights attorney with expertise in victim’s rights advocacy; Lorraine Dowler, associate professor of women's studies and geography; and Maureen Jones, a forensic nursing instructor in the School of Nursing.

Because April also is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the same three organizations will host a panel discussion following an encore State College screening of the documentary film "In a Town This Size" at 7 p.m. April 3 at the State Theatre. The award-winning film -- filmmaker Patrick Viersen Brown's personal narrative of his sexual abuse as a child, as well as other childhood victims, their families and professionals -- was previously screened in State College in January. Members of the Centre County Women's Resource Center and the Department of Women's Studies will facilitate a post-film discussion.

The concluding event of the teach-in is the fifth annual Healing Gathering to honor survivors of violence and those who support them in their healing process. The program, titled Honoring Survival: Transforming the Spirit," and hosted by the Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs and the Center for Women Students, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, at the Pasquerilla Spirital Center. Participants will hear the stories of survivors and those who support them through poetry, storytelling and music. For more information go to

In addition to the teach-in, other events held in April support SAAM awareness, advocacy and prevention initiatives as well as those of Child Abuse Prevention Month:

-- The hour-long program "Healing from Childhood Abuse," offered by Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), begins at noon on Tuesday, April 3, in room 106 of the HUB-Robeson Center.

-- A screening of the documentary "Boys and Men Healing," will be held at 7 p.m. April 4 at University Park's HUB Auditorium. (A screening on will be held the previous evening at 7 p.m. at Penn State Altoona's Misciagna Theater.) Following the screening, health professionals from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and representatives from the national nonprofit organization MaleSurvivor will hold a panel discussion. CAPS and MaleSurvivor are cosponsoring the screening. For more details, go to

  • For additional Penn State news about Sexual Assault Awareness Month and available resources, click on the image above.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated March 30, 2012