Support survivors of sexual violence

by Ami Wazlawik — University student

Sexual assault continues to be an important issue, affecting many people both on and off campus. For Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, campus community members collaborated to develop a great line-up of events, starting with a panel discussion about sex trafficking March 26.

Nearly one in five women and one in 71 men have been raped, according to a 2010 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly half of women, along with one in five men, have experienced sexual violence other than rape, the CDC found.

Tens of millions of our fellow Americans — likely some people you know — are dealing with the short- and long-term effects of sexual violence. These effects can include feelings of fear, anger and shame, as well as anxiety, nightmares and flashbacks.

Thankfully, the University of Minnesota has a wonderful resource here on campus to help victims/survivors of sexual assault: the Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education. The Aurora Center provides a number of services to help victims/survivors, including a 24-hour helpline, crisis intervention, legal and hospital advocacy and a support group.

Take some time in the next few weeks and in April to think about how sexual violence impacts your life and the lives of those around you. Attend some events, get to know some new people and help create a culture that supports survivors of sexual violence.