UHCS hosting several events for sexual assault awareness month

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April is sexual assault awareness month, and the University Health Counseling Services has coordinated a variety of events to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to teach students how to prevent sexual violence.

Some of the events included this year are Sex in the UC, The Relationship Violence Workshop, Take Back the Night, and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.

Wellness Coordinator Whitney Henley said April is important because it’s a month where the UHCS can raise awareness about the issues and effects of sexual assault.

“Sexual assault occurs incredibly frequently, and it’s not something we as a society like to talk about,” Henley said. “A lot of sexual assaults are never even reported to police or friends.”

According to a 2006 study, 24 percent of UW-Whitewater students have been sexually assaulted at least once before college.

“It’s really important for students to raise their awareness to how often it happens as well as the many effects resulting from sexual assault or sexual abuse,” UHCS counselor and licensed psychologist Jill Mallin said.

One of the main events featured this month will be “Sex in the UC.” Sponsored by the Residence Hall Association and the Helping Others Through Peer Education student organization, “Sex in the UC,” allows  for peers to ask and answer any confidential opposite sex related questions.

“Students participating will write down questions related to the opposite sex and a facilitator will read the questions to the opposite sexes,” Henley said. “A UHCS member will be in attendance to answer any health related sex questions.”

Henley said the event would be bigger this year because instead of being open to just one residence hall, it’s open to the entire campus community.

“Sex in the UC” will be from 7-9 p.m. April 24 in the UC Hamilton Room.

Another event the UHCS hosts is “Take Back the Night.” It presents an opportunity for students to get resources about sexual violence and openly share personal stories and bond with one another.

“It’s an open mic event where students are able to share spoken word poetry or other personal stories,” Henley said. “It’s a very empowering and very emotional event.”

According to Henley, the event will end with a candlelight march.

UHCS partnered with People Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse of Jefferson County to organize the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” fundraiser. The event has men walk a mile in women’s high-heeled shoes to raise awareness about the issue of sexual violence.

“The event is usually tons of fun and a lot of the men really tend to get into character,” Henley said. “All the proceeds will go to PADA of Jefferson County.”

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes kicks off at 11 a.m. April 21 at the Summers Auditorium in the UC.

Henley said she hopes students attending these events will have fun and learn more about this sensitive subject.

“The purpose of these events is to raise awareness to the issue by helping people heal if they are survivors of sexual violence and teach ways to prevent it from occurring in the future,” Henley said.

More information about sexual assault awareness month can be found on the UHCS website.