Sexual Assault Prevention Month kicks off with information and a proclamation

Melissa Whitley, the executive director of Hope Harbor and Dr. Peggy Crowe, the director of counseling and testing center at WKU sign proclamation to kick off the honorary sexual assault prevention month of April on the first floor of DSU on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.

Lily Burris

April is Sexual Assault Prevention Month, and a kickoff for a month of events occurred Tuesday in Downing Student Union with tables filled with facts, prizes and a proclamation signing.

WKU and local nonprofit organizations including Hope Harbor are planning activities throughout the month to raise awareness for sexual assault, with a theme called “I Ask.” The kickoff included a wheel to spin for a prize or fact, a sign which asked participants and passers-by how they ask for consent and a table filled with t-shirts that said “consent y’all.”

“We partner up to kind of let folks know about their resources in the community,” Alayna Milby, crisis intervention specialist for Hope Harbor said. “We also want to do some events to let people know there’s something we can all do to end sexual violence in our community.”

Upcoming events include Walk a Mile in Her Shoes on April 3, First Things First on April 16 and Take Back the Night on April 25.

“[At First Things First], we have people already who are telling their story the way they want to, it doesn’t have to be their story as a survivor,” Kelsey Redding, a senior from White House, Tenn. said. “It’s their story with body image or gender identity or race or anything like that. So, we wanted to give people the space to kind of raise awareness in that way.”

Redding said students often know about sexual assault to some extent, but they often don’t know the specific statistic. One statistic presented at the kickoff said one in every three women and one in every six men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18.

“I hope, if anything, [students are] able to start a conversation,” Milby said. “They’re going to feel comfortable coming, talking with their peers, whether it be talking about their own experience or having conversations about consent.”

The proclamation declared April Sexual Assault Prevention Month, introduced with a speech from Peggy Crowe, director of the Counseling and Testing Center. 

“This proclamation focuses on creating a safer campus or community for educating all on healthy relationships and sexual respect while encouraging communities, individuals and organizations to commit themselves to taking a stand and making a difference and becoming virtues of hope,” Crowe said.

News reporter Lily Burris can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @lily_burris.