California State University, San Bernardino

CSUSB observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month

This month, the CSUSB Title IX and Gender Equity is presenting a series of events to promote Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Whether it is wearing the official SAAM color teal, or sporting the symbolic ribbons, students can show support through the activities planned for April.

The occasion began April 2-5 when CSUSB VOICE peers displayed a resource table near the west entrance of the Santos Manuel Student Union. SAAM ribbons were passed out to students, and representatives of Title IX and Gender Equity were there to discuss the meaning of consent.

During the same time, an Instagram campaign called #TEALMEYOURSTORY was launched so supporters could upload pictures of themselves wearing teal on the social media site, and share why they are participating in SAAM.

From April 9-13, students will be able to participate in workshops to design their own T-shirts with motivational messages for sexual assault survivors at the SMSU Women’s Resource Center. The T-shirts will be displayed at the SMSU Lobby and Serrano Village Quad on a clothesline starting April 16 as part of the yearly Clothesline Project.

There will be several discussions held about topics centering on harassment and consent.

Preventing Violence Against Transwomen, a conversation about the physical and sexual violence transgender people experience in their daily lives, will be held April 17 at SMSU-112. Rape Culture 101 will help others understand the term “rape culture” and how to end the perpetuation of the culture in society on Apr. 18 at SMSU-221.

The Take Back the Night event will take place on April 19 at the SMSU Events Center. The event provides a chance for survivors of sexual assault to have their voices heard in a supportive environment. It will also feature spoken word poetry, artwork, and a table resource fair for attendees to enjoy.

The Teal Color Fest, held on April 20, will provide the CSUSB community with the opportunity to support San Bernardino Sexual Assault Services (SBSAS). Donations will be collected by VOICE peers at the Serrano Village Quad.

Photo opportunities with #CSUSBDENIMDAY will be available April 25. Participants can visit the VOICE peer resource table at the SMSU West Entrance wearing their favorite pair of jeans to post a picture on Instagram making the statement that tight jeans do not give consent for inappropriate behavior.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month will end with lectures by sexologist author Michelle Hope and sexual assault advocate Danny Cygan on Apr. 26 at the SMSU Theater.

Hope’s discussion will focus on how sexuality can affect peoples’ day-to-day interactions, while Cygan will share a male perspective about being a sexual assault survivor.

In the age of movements such as “Me Too” and “Time’s Up,” the topic of sexual assault and harassment has become more openly discussed, and remains a relevant subject to CSUSB students.

“Sexual assault and sexual harassment can negatively impact a person in many different ways, often affecting their professional career or academics. Going through such an experience can be stressful and traumatic, which is why CSUSB has multiple on-campus resources to help students and staff move forward and prevent any reoccurrence of sexual assault or sexual harassment,” said Title IX Director Cristina Martin.

Those who have been victims of sexual assault or violence are encouraged to visit the Title IX and Gender Equity office, the CSUSB Advocate (Marina Rodriguez), the University Police Department, and the Counseling and Psychological Services center.

“It’s important to shine a light on inappropriate behavior so that we can prevent future occurrences. Our university has a process on investigating these incidents that also include no-contact orders between the parties involved, accommodations, and we do not tolerate retaliation against someone who reports,” stated Martin. “We want to make it easier for people to come forward to report these types of incidents to ensure a safe campus.”