Activities raise awareness of sexual violence

by Jessica Opad

Every 15 seconds, a woman is sexually assaulted and beaten.
Still, in the United States, there are three times as many animal shelters as there are shelters for battered women and their children.
To draw attention to these disparities and promote sexual violence awareness, April 3 to May 5 is Sexual Violence Awareness Month.
On campus, the Program Against Sexual Violence is doing its part by hosting several different activities to raise awareness, such as the Clothesline Project, the John Van Rides and a toiletry and clothing drive.
The Clothesline Project gives victims of sexual assault a chance to express themselves artistically. They create T-shirts that display their traumatic experience or the healing process that came with it, using different colors of paint. Each color used represents a different form of sexual assault.
For the John Van Rides, the Southside Prostitution Task Force assists PASV by taking participants for a ride through the streets of downtown Minneapolis. This allows the passengers to get a realistic view of street prostitution in the city. The event was a huge success last year, but there is limited space available.
A clothing and toiletry drive will also run throughout the month. Several drive locations are scattered across campus, with boxes at the PASV office in Boynton Health Service room 407, in different cultural group centers and resident halls.
PASV hopes to send the items to the Women’s Recovery Center, a center for women trying to escape prostitution.
“Women come (to the shelter) with only the clothes on their backs, which is why we collect the clothes,” said Kelly Coughlan, executive assistant for PASV.
According to the PASV Web site, of all rapes, 80 percent are perpetrated by acquaintances. Sixty-one percent of the victims of rape are women under the age of 17, and 29 percent of the victims are girls under the age of 11. In her life, one in three American women will be sexually assaulted.
Every year in the United States, about 1.9 million women are the victims of assault. In America, there are 1.3 rapes every minute, 78 rapes each hour, and 1,871 rapes each day.
For more information about this month’s events, contact Kelly Coughlan at [email protected]