UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | February 26, 2024

Utah Tech University brings awareness to Sexual Assault Awareness month throughout April

Camila Andrade, senior digital film major from Ibarra, Ecuador, enjoys the Utah Tech University events to learn about sexual assault awarness month. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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Utah Tech University will highlight Sexual Assault Awareness Month with many events and exhibits throughout April. 

Every April, people across the United States raise awareness about sexual assault, how to prevent it and how to support those affected by it. People at Utah Tech and around St. George are seeking to do their part by hosting events that will help people better understand sexual assault and what victims of sexual assault go through. 

“What Were You Wearing” Exhibit

When: 

“What Were You Wearing” is on display every April in partnership with the DOVE center.

The purpose of the “What Were You Wearing” Exhibit is to dispel a victim-blaming myth that clothing invites sexual assault. Victims of crime are not responsible for crimes committed against them. Survivors of rape/sexual assault are often asked, “What were you wearing?” 

“This exhibit is held to show support for survivors, highlight resources and unlearn one of our culture’s most prevalent sexual assault myths,” said Dru Bottoms, director of student resource center. “The exhibit helps ensure the conversation continues and that students know this is an issue we take seriously on campus.” 

Start By Believing Pledge 

When:

  • April 5, Holland Centennial Commons, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. 

The Start By Believing Pledge is a national movement that brings awareness to transforming the way we respond to sexual assault.

When you take the Start By Believing Pledge, you pledge to:

  1. Start by believing when someone tells me they were abused or sexually assaulted
  2. Support survivors on the road to justice and healing 
  3. Help end the silence

Every officer at the Utah Tech Police Department attends an advanced sexual assault training and combines the Start By Believing Pledge in how they respond to reported sexual assaults. 

“We begin by believing the victim and using all available resources to investigate the complaint thoroughly,” said Chief of Police Ron Bridge. “Furthermore, UTPD utilizes an in-office victim advocate through the investigation and court processes.”

Safety Tips

When:

  • April 13, Gardner Plaza, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Booths will be set up by the UTPD, the DOVE center and the Student Resource Center in order to give students safety tips and information regarding Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 

Breaking the Stigma featuring Deondra Brown of the Five Browns

When:

  • April 13, Gardner Living Room, 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. 

This will be a meaningful discussion with a survivor of sexual assault and will be moderated by Board of Trustees Chair Tiffany Wilson. 

Denim Day

When: 

  • April 26

Demin Day is an awareness campaign that asks community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion statement. By wearing jeans, individuals are participating in a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault. 

“There Is No Excuse And Never An Invitation To Rape” 

The campaign began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.

Heels 2 Heal Walk

When:

  • April 29, Coral Desert Health Center, 9 a.m.

Heels 2 Heal is a community event hosted by K.A.V.A Talks in which men and women will be invited to walk a mile in high heels. This is in an effort to show support and solidarity for all those who have been victims and survivors of sexual assault. 

K.A.V.A stands for Knowledge Above Violence Always and is a group that provides a safe space for men to be vulnerable and educated in order to make better decisions for themselves and all those around them. 

Utah Tech’s Student Resource Center will also be present at the event to provide information and representation. 

The events held during Sexual Assault Awareness Month will provide a means to educate the entire community and heighten awareness of sexual assault. 

Bottoms said, “As a campus community, it is important to help raise awareness through discussion and learning opportunities so that we continue to create a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for all.”