Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month
The University has made it a priority to support victims of child abuse, and we’re making significant progress.
In addition to ongoing activities – such as the formation of the Center for the Protection of Children, creation of the Presidential Task Force on Child Maltreatment, and a partnership with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape – Penn State and its students recognize April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month through a variety of initiatives and programs at University Park and our Commonwealth campuses.
Below is a recap of 2012 activities:
Penn State Abington – Penn State Abington reinforced its commitment to raise awareness and to provide education about violence, abuse and bigotry directed at children and all members of our society with a series of events, including raising funds for A Place To Talk, the Abington peer counseling service, to benefit Mission Kids, the Montgomery County child advocacy organization; recertification of Abington as a “No Place For Hate” campus for the seventh consecutive year by Anti-Defamation League representatives; and the one-woman historical drama “Unbinding Our Lives,” which tells the stories of three real Chinese women in the 1800s who suffered abuse at the hands of their families and others and who were sold into prostitution and slavery.
Penn State Altoona – Penn State Altoona hosted several events in April, including the critically acclaimed documentary “Boys & Men Healing,” which focuses on the impact of male child sexual abuse on the individual and society; the Clothesline Project was displayed in the Slep Student Center and students were invited to share stories of survival related to the sexual abuse/assault; a partnership with Family Services Incorporated, a “Take Back the Night” rally and candlelight vigil were held.
Penn State Beaver – The Penn State Beaver library hosted the display of a “Survivors Wall” quilt as well as a display entitled “Take a Walk in My Shoes.” The quilt was designed and constructed by victims of sexual violence who are or were clients of the Women’s Center of Beaver County as well as Women's Center volunteers and staff members. Each shoe in the display is from a victim whose personal story is attached to give viewers an idea of what that person has endured.
Penn State Berks – Penn State Berks partnered with the Children’s Alliance Center in an effort to educate faculty and staff about child abuse prevention. Representatives from the Children’s Alliance Center presented on mandatory reporting processes and procedures.
Penn State Brandywine – A workshop and discussion about the anniversary and history of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and sexual assault policies and movements was held at Penn State Brandywine. Nichet Sykes, education coordinator of Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR), spoke about sexual assault services and access to support for survivors, ad Jessica Cook, a graduate student intern in the counseling office at Penn State Brandywine, discussed the stress related to coping with trauma and sexual assault.
Penn State DuBois – The Clothesline Project, a visual display that bears witness to violence against women, was on display in the campus Student Union Building. In addition, a “Take Back the Night” rally was held in the campus gymnasium.
Penn State Hershey – The Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s signature Blue Crescent was lit up in blue each night for a week to encourage awareness and prevention of child abuse. Also, a volunteer-planted "pinwheel garden" was on display near the Medical Center’s North Entrance. Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania promotes the pinwheel as a symbol of a carefree childhood, and its parent organization, Prevent Child Abuse America, encourages the planting of “pinwheel gardens” across the nation to increase focus on prevention efforts.
Penn State Schuylkill – Two Penn State Schuylkill students and instructor Ron Kelly gave a presentation entitled “The Effects Sexual Assault Crimes Have on College Campuses” at Penn State Erie, the Behrend College, during the Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference.
Penn State University Park – At the University Park campus, the Center for Women Students and the Department of Women's Studies, along with the Centre County Women's Resource Center, presented a three-day "teach-in" of educational, scholarly and community events, titled “Feminist Responses: Sexual Assault, Social Power, Personal Healing.” The series of events included a "Healing is Dealing" discussion led by Dana Cuomo, a doctoral candidate in both geography and women's studies; a "Sexual Violence and Institutional Power" discussion chaired by Melissa Wright, professor of geography and women's studies; the fifth annual Healing Gathering to honor survivors of violence and those who support them in their healing process; an hour-long program "Healing from Childhood Abuse," offered by Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS); and a screening of the documentary “Boys and Men Healing,” followed by a panel discussion by health professionals from CAPS and representatives from the national nonprofit organization MaleSurvivor.
Penn State York – In partnership with the York County Child Advocacy Center, the HD FS Club offered the “Stewards of Children,” a nationally recognized, evidenced-based program to teach adults how to identify and respond to concerns about sexual abuse.
Penn College – By making a $5 donation at College Health Services, those who participated in “Wear Jeans Day” in support of Sexual Assault Awareness on Friday, April 13, supported the work of Wise Options, a program of the Williamsport YWCA that offers a 24-hour emergency hotline, safe housing and services for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, and provides educational resources on awareness and prevention.