During the week of April 22–26, Lees-McRae in partnership with Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter (OASIS) and other college organizations will host events across campus to raise awareness and educate the community in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Week.
Sexual Assault Awareness Week is just one segment of a nationwide observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month held each year in April.
Director of Campus Life and Student Engagement Hannah Finkelstein had a few thoughts leading into the week.
“It is important that conversations around sexual misconduct happen on our campus,” she said. “Campus Life and the college as a whole are committed to preparing students to engage in real world issues, and this week is hosted to prepare our students to stand against sexual misconduct and advocate for others.”
Finkelstein added that sexual violence is not an issue to be dealt with by just one community, “but instead requires our Lees-McRae and High Country communities to stand together in solidarity to create a safe and supportive campus where sexual violence is never tolerated.”
Learn about the various events throughout the week hosted by staff from OASIS, Lees-McRae College Director of Counseling Services Marla Gentile, and others.
Monday, April 22
The week began with the Clothesline Project sponsored by OASIS. Starting at noon in Swank Park, with the rain location in the Cannon Student Center, the Clothesline Project served to educate communities and raise awareness of the prevalence of sexual violence in addition to empowering survivors. Participants could decorate a t-shirt displaying messages to break the silence surrounding sexual violence.
Tuesday, April 23
The next day began at 11 a.m. in the Cannon Student Center with an event sponsored by Delta Omicron Theta Sorority. Participants painted a consent rock and chatted about the importance of continued consent.
Later that afternoon, OASIS hosted a Consent Awareness Party from 7–10 p.m. in Wily’s Bar & Grill in the Cannon Student Center. With its most recent, groundbreaking bar outreach program, attendees participated in a night of trivia to win their specifically-designed consent t-shirts and pint glasses. The evening concluded with music and food.
Wednesday, April 24
Halfway through the week, the college will take part in a campus wide observance of Denim Day. For 20 years, the Denim Day campaign has been hosted worldwide on a Wednesday in April. The campaign began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned due to the victim’s tight jeans. The justices concluded that she helped remove her clothes—implying consent. The following day, women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Wear your jeans and use #IWearDenimBecause to stand in solidarity with survivors.
The evening will feature another Clothesline Project event from 4–6 p.m. in Swank Park with the rain location in the Cannon Student Center.
Thursday, April 25
Take Back the Night will be Thursday’s main event located in Swank Park at 7 p.m. with the rain location in Evans Auditorium in the Cannon Student Center. OASIS will guide participants as they take a stand against sexual violence and empower survivors to feel safe, heard, and supported in the community. The first 100 students to arrive will receive t-shirts saying, “Bobcats don’t stand by, we stand up.” The event will also feature speakers, a pledge against sexual assault, and conclude in a campus walk.
Friday, April 26
The final day of Sexual Assault Awareness Week will include a #MeToo-themed Tea Talk—a session for participants to discuss important topics involving the #MeToo movement over a warm drink.
Anyone with questions or concerns about Sexual Assault Awareness Week should contact Hannah Finkelstein. Both staff members from OASIS and Director of Counseling Services Marla Gentile will be available throughout the week to process conversations regarding sexual violence. The OASIS crisis line is also available 24-hours a day, seven days a week at 828.504.0911.