WKU Counseling Center, Hope Harbor hosts Sexual Assault Prevention Month Kickoff


Kennedy Gott

Elizabeth Madariaga (right) Sexual Assault Services Coordinator at the WKU Counseling Center hands out a free t-shirt to a student as her, Melanie Evans (middle) Coordinator for WKU Student Conduct, and Maja O’Connell of Hope Harbor table on campus on Wednesday, March 30th for sexual assault awareness on campus.

Debra Murray, Content Editor

A Sexual Assualt Prevention Month Kickoff was held in the DSU Courtyard on March 30 to provide student with resources and support for sexual assualt awarness. 

Several tables were passing out contraception, menstruation products, T-shirts and pamphlets educating people about resources. 

Sexual Assualt Prevention Month was coordinated by the WKU Counseling Center, Hope Harbor Inc. Barren River Area Safe Space, and other WKU organizations. 

Elizabeth Madariaga, sexual assault services coordinator, expressed that people ages 16 to 24 are four times as likely to experience sexual assualt than any other age group. 

“We’re trying to get out is a message that sexual assault is not just women’s issue,” Madariaga said. “It’s on all of us to work on prevention and we tried to do this so we went to events like this just to increase the awareness about the different things we have going on on campus. So we provide activities on my phone and our messages. And this is for all of us. To be a victim is not just a male, female thing. It’s genderless.”

Maja O’Connell of Hope Harbor helps to table on campus on Wednesday, March 30th for sexual assault awareness on campus. Students received free prizes, such as t-shirts, cups, pens, etc. when they spun the wheel. (Kennedy Gott)

Hope Harbor is a sexual trama recovery center. The non-profit counseling center provides 24-hour response, counseling, and prevention education at local schools. The center also is seeking volunteers. Volunteers can work in-office, with fundraising, garden, or as advocates that work directly with survivors.  

“Our goal is to let people know of our services and let people know that this organization exists in our community and that it’s free to them, but also spreading awareness about sexual assault prevention month that’s coming up in April,” Jacklyn Henry, community organizor at Hope Harbor. 

Hope Harbor offers training at local elementary and middle schools to teach boundaries. 

“Our education programs are awareness programs,” Henry said. “We do those in elementary, middle and high school. We have provincial based programs too, that are statistically proven to reduce instances of power based personal violence. Those are in middle school and high school at the moment. We do it’s my space, which is our middle school program. And this program just focuses on relationships, whether that’s between friends, or actual romantic relationships.” 

Another training called “Green Dot” is taught at Bowling Green High School, Warren County High School and East Warren High School. 

“[The program] teaches people how to respond when they see power based personal violence happening. And essentially what power based personal violence means is things like bullying, sexual harassment, dating violence, things like that,” Henry said.

There is a series of educational events for 2022 Sexual Assault Prevention Month throughout April, find more information here

Content Editor Debra Murray can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @debramurrayy