Every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. Young adults — ages 18-34 — make up 54% of those cases.
This April marks the 19th anniversary for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment or PAVE-USD is using this month to further spread awareness on resources available for USD students — even while away from campus.
Savannah Schorn, PAVE-USD Vice President, said spreading awareness is important all year long, but having a dedicated month elevates support for survivors.
“Every month of the year it is very important to show awareness for sexual assault and support for survivors,” Schorn said in an email interview with The Volante. “April is a great opportunity to show survivors how we acknowledge their strength and support them.”
Prior to classes moving online, PAVE-USD had planned on-campus events every week during this month. These events, Schorn said, included self-care events, like Mocktails and Canvas, situational awareness classes through the Wellness Center and a Coffee and Consent panel.
With the cancellation of all USD events, these activities were canceled. Schorn said PAVE-USD is trying its best to still spread awareness through their social media accounts.
“Though these events didn’t go as planned, life is unexpected and we’re doing our best to roll with the punches,” Schorn said. “Transitioning online has been difficult for all of us. It is especially hard to let go of all of the great events we had planned for the year, but we can only come back stronger next year.”
Taylor Hagen, PAVE-USD President, said educating people via social media is vital right now. It’s important USD students and people, in general, know what resources are available to them she said.
“PAVE-USD wants to bring awareness to sexual assault and prevention on campus and there are tools and educational resources to students on campus,” Hagen said in an email interview with The Volante. “I hope people are able … to understand the importance of consent, bystander intervention and awareness.”
Women in college are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than the average woman. However, men in college are five times more likely to be abused than the average man.
Schorn said people sometimes don’t realize sexual assault happens everywhere. It’s crucial, she said, for survivors know they are supported and others are educated on the reality of the situation.
“Sexual assault is still a taboo topic to many people and what we want to do is make it more of a fluid, comfortable conversation,” Schorn said. “Unfortunately this is something that happens in all communities and the more familiarized we are with it, the better advocates we can be.”
Even with the pandemic and classes moved online, Schorn said resources are still available online. She said having information available makes it easier to access it at any time, which is important.
Hagen said it is crucial to continue to have conversations on sexual assault awareness even while away from campus.
“Survivors are able to have a voice and find resources throughout this month,” Hagen said. “This month is important to everyone though because this topic is something that affects everyone within a community. Conversations about consent and bystander intervention help to shatter the silence.”