April brings not only the start of the spring term, but also the start of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), which Drexel recognizes annually.
As in past years, every Tuesday in April will be a “Teal Tuesday” on which all Dragons are encouraged to wear teal T-shirts and ribbons. Volunteers will be at the Mario Statue at the corner of 33rd and Market streets every Tuesday from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. passing out shirts and ribbons for those who would like to participate, along with information about sexual violence and related topics.
“This year’s theme is ‘Where do you stand?’” said Jesse Krohn, the Office of Equality and Diversity’s associate director of education and prevention. “We’re asking people to self-examine. It’s not enough to say you’re against violence. What do you do when you hear denigrating remarks, or see risky behavior? We want people to stand up.”
A full calendar of events can be found here. In addition to Teal Tuesdays, another familiar initiative, Take Back the Night, returns this year on April 21. This event features student-led activities, including the reading of survivor stories, and is sponsored by Sigma Psi Zeta.
Planned SAAM programming provides plenty of opportunities to learn and engage for all members of the Drexel community. Offerings range from a “How to Support a Survivor” lunch-and-learn to “Netflix and Chill?”, an open conversation on the meaning of consent, and “Where’s My Voice?”, a forum about the #MeToo movement and amplifying intersectional voices.
“It’s important that as we have these conversations, we are including everyone,” says Reema Malhotra, education and prevention specialist with the Office of Equality and Diversity (OED). “Are we considering the particularized needs of men who are survivors? Do we recognize that the power to speak out may be affected by factors like race, religion or gender identity?”
Some SAAM programming is attached to existing initiatives that share a thematic link. For example, there will be a sexual violence themed booth at FreshCheck Day, a campuswide mental health promotion and suicide prevention program, where participants will have the opportunity to help create a Clothesline Project.
OED stresses that programming efforts are intended to be both aspirational and responsive, giving members of the community both the information that they need to learn and the opportunities to communicate and engage that they want. A planned “Tea with Title IX” invites participants into OED’s home at the James E. Marks Intercultural Center to ask questions and share thoughts, concerns and ideas.
This emphasis on community engagement motivated the formation of Drexel Student Anti-Violence Educators (Drexel SAVE), OED’s new peer education network. This initiative will train student advocates to act as facilitators for programs about sexual violence, bystander intervention, and related topics.
“Who do students want to learn from?” asked Malhotra. “Other students.”
Anyone looking to get involved with SAAM 2018 at Drexel, including students interested in joining Drexel SAVE, can email Malhotra at firstname.lastname@example.org with their interest, or stop by any of the events marked on the calendar. More information about resources at Drexel University for those affected by sexual and gender-based harassment and misconduct, including confidential resources and reporting options, can be found on OED's Title IX Resource Page.