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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Students raise awareness through April events


Editor’s Note: This article includes discussion of sexual assault.

There are rows of red flags on the lawn behind Jones Dining Center. Those flags represent statistically how many students will be harmed by sexual violence this year, based on Texas State’s population.

In Alkek, two glass cases are filled with painted hands; the white represents the age of the survivor and the blue represents the survivor’s relationship with their assailant.

Throughout April, Students Against Violence (SAV) will host events for National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Each event allows students to share their experiences without initiating a Title IX report. “TXST Stands with Survivors” and “Like the Back of My Hand” kicked off the month of events on April 1, with more to be hosted until April 29.

“SAV does a lot of awareness during the month of April, especially since it’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month,” Montserrat Luna, president of SAV, said. “Giving people the space [and] the community to feel supported, especially if they’ve gone through something like that, it’s important.”

Of the eight events, three have already passed. “Growing a Culture of Consent” aimed to create a culture of consent through a discussion and the decoration of pots for planting. At “Take Back the Night” students shared their experiences through spoken word and poetry with host Ebony Stewart, an award-winning slam poet. Students grabbed a coffee and met with Heidy Cortez, Texas State’s new bilingual sexual assault advocate, at “Coffee with an Advocate.”

The next event will be the “Consent Bingo Pizza Party” from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, at Falls-Sayers Ballroom. Free pizza and consent bingo will be handed out during a discussion about comprehensive consent.

“In Texas, comprehensive sex education is prohibited,” Marisa Montelongo, health promotions specialist and SAV adviser, said. “Talking about consent isn’t something that’s [taught]… It’s really important for students [who] come to college [who] maybe have a lack of knowledge and education around consent [to come] here and be able to see what consent is supposed to look like.”

For the “Healing Yoga” event from 7-8 p.m. on April 23 at LBJ Student Center room 3-5.1, SAV will host a yoga session with a trauma-informed yoga instructor from Wild Rice Yoga Studio who is certified to help people with traumatic events.

SAV will wrap up its National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month events with the “Denim Day Art Display” on April 22-26 in LBJ Student Center Hub. On March 25, SAV hosted an event to paint jeans and learn about the history of sexual assault. The jeans on display will have written messages from survivors.

SAV hopes to encourage conversations about sexual violence with this event and welcomes students, faculty and staff to wear denim on Denim Day, April 24, to raise awareness and highlight misconceptions surrounding sexual assault.

Although SAV hosts several events throughout April, Luna said SAV’s help and support for students is year-round. Its mission is to create a conversation around sexual assault to raise awareness and educate students. Through its events in April, SAV hopes to bring students together on campus.

“Seeing other people, that you might know… seeing that they are also supporting this awareness and that they also care about the wellbeing of survivors and the fact that they’re not okay with sexual assault happening… helps make our campus feel more like a community,” Erin Whitney, SAV staff officer, said.

If someone has experienced sexual assault, they can contact Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) at 800-658-4673 or visit its website. For more information on events happening throughout April, visit the Students Against Violence website.

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