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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As part of this, the entire campus of the University of Massachusetts Boston is hosting different events to spread awareness about the issue and support for those affected by sexual assault.
With events such as the talk on “Sex and Culture,” hosted by Craig Bidiman and UMB Sex Talk, the “Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) Consent Workshop,” and others, there is much to get involved in.
Survivor Love Letter Tabling was one event hosted by Women Gender Studies. Students had the opportunity to anonymously write letters of encouragement which will later be given to survivors.
The Women’s Center has played a huge role this month to help those affected by sexual assault. “We are trying to put an emphasis on creating an opportunity for women to come together, have a discussion, and become aware,” says Christa Chavez, the Women’s Center coordinator. They are trying to provide resources, as well as support, for those in need who feel that the Women’s Center is a platform for that support. The Women’s Center is also trying to create a culture of empowerment through recognition of the bystander effect. The bystander effect happens when someone does not say anything when they see something wrong happening. Whether the problem is someone feeling uncomfortable because of another person or not speaking up about an inappropriate joke, if the bystander not say something, they become a part of the problem.
Creating a sense of empowerment for everyone will lead to less passive bystanders and more active bystanders, which is a positive change, explains Chavez. The Women’s Center would also like to note that they believe sexual assault is gender nonconforming because anyone can be a victim of sexual assault regardless of gender identity. They also believe everyone also needs to know the correct definition of sexual assault, as it is not just rape.
On April 19 at 5 p.m., the Women’s Center is hosting a screening of the Hunting Ground, a documentary on sexual assault incidences on college campuses in the US, with a discussion afterward. The Women’s Center Connect Night, where people can connect with each other through planting succulents and decorating pots, is on April 20.
They are also working on the Clothesline Project, which is a program for students to write their sexual assault stories on a t-shirt and hang them up so others will know that they are not alone in what they are dealing with. This project will be on display in the Harbor Art Gallery from April 25 through April 30 and will then be moved for a final event involving Sexual Assault Awareness Month called Spotlight. This student-led event will be held on April 30 in the Ryan Lounge from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be student performances, spoken word, stories, and food, all to build empowerment on the issue of sexual assault. The entire event will showcase everything from the month of April leading up to this event.
You can learn more about the events and how to get involved at: https://www.umb.edu/titleix/awareness