SARA and other groups raise awareness

by Peter Kaspari

Simpson’s Sexual Assault Response Advocates (SARA) is working to raise awareness of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which occurs annually in April.

 “It’s a month the federal government designates as a time when all people are made aware of sexual assault as an issue, whether it’s as a victim, someone who knows a victim, or maybe even a loved one of a perpetrator,” said Rachel Bandy, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice.

 Unlike previous years, this year SARA is receiving some support in the form of Campus Security, who are helping to raise awareness of sexual assault this month as well.

 “I think it’s a natural collaboration and I look forward to working with them in the future,” Bandy said. “We’re definitely each other’s allies.”

 Junior Gaston Akerman, safety programming undergraduate assistant for security, said part of the reason for teaming up was to make the community aware of all the assistance available.

 “Usually SARA does all of the events, and I feel like the Simpson community should know that’s not the only organization that supports sexual assault victims,” Akerman said.

 Akerman said that one of the ways security is contributing is by updating the Simpson Security blog.

 “I am posting information on advocacy, how to prevent sexual assault, trying to get rid of the myths of rape and increase awareness,” Akerman said. “But we don’t want to take over SARA’s responsibility. We’re teaming up for a better approach.”

 Bandy said that it’s always difficult to promote sexual assault awareness month since April always has many different events going on. At the same time, she said that doesn’t slow down their efforts.

 “This year we’re doing a bit more,” Bandy said. “We’re going to be having an event that will be revealed on April 20. We want to make sure people feel comfortable talking about what’s happened. We’re also doing a PostSecret event about sexual assault, and Toilet Talk is about sexual assault this month.”

 Bandy also added that, to SARA, sexual assault awareness is not just a topic for April, but rather an on-going topic that should be discussed year-round. She added that the month itself is not necessarily what gets a good reception.

 “I think what’s well-received is SARA,” Bandy said. “We want to make every month sexual assault awareness month.”

 Sophomore and SARA member Bobby Dennis feels the collaboration will have a positive impact on the campus.

 “It makes the statement that sexual assault is not something just for SARA and that it affects everybody,” Dennis said.

 Akerman added that the collaboration with the two organizations will help everyone out in the long run.

 “I think it’s a great benefit to the community,” Akerman said. “Both entities’ goals are to better communicate the knowledge of different topics. I believe it’s a good opportunity and we look forward to working with (SARA).”

 In addition, Akerman said that security is open to working with other campus organizations to promote their missions as well.

 “If there are other organizations that want to work with security, they should feel free to contact us,” Akerman said.

 Security’s blog can be found at Among the statistics listed on the site are that one in four college women have either been raped or attempted to be raped, and 84 percent of women who are raped know their assailant.