April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and we here at Project Safe observe SAAM 2021 and continue the important work of prevention education and victim advocacy all year long, whether we’re together on campus, online, or social distancing. This year’s SAAM theme is “Creating Safe Online Spaces.” We are offering educational programs all month long, including an 8-session Empowerment Self-Defense course, guest lectures from national experts such as Donna Freitas, an amazing performance by renowned poet Ashlee Haze, dialogue with author Mary Adkins about the intersection of class and sexual violence on college campuses, and more. See our full calendar below.
VU SAAM 2021 Programs and Events
SAAM Kick-Off: Consent on Campus — Thursday, April 1, 5 PM
Donna Freitas, author of Consent on Campus: A Manifesto, discusses her research. 5 PM via Zoom. Open to all students, faculty, staff, and post-docs.
SAAM Swag Giveaway — Friday, April 2, 11 AM-2PM
Stop by Project Safe between 11 AM and 2 PM to grab some #SAAM2021 freebies. Masks and distancing required. Quantities limited. RSVP on Anchor Link.
ASSERT Empowerment Self-Defense — Starts Sunday, April 4; Sundays and Wednesdays all month long. 7-8 PM.
An 8-session empowerment self-defense training program. Free and open to all students, staff, post-docs, and faculty. Trauma-informed, inclusive, assertiveness-building, and boundary-setting self-defense. Click HERE to REGISTER. Classes are offered every Sunday and Wednesday evening from 7-8 PM in April. Attend one, some, or all sessions. This series ends with an optional on-campus board-breaking ceremony on Friday, April 30.
Pick Up Lanterns and Decorating Supplies — Monday, April 5, 11 AM to 2 PM
Each year, Project Safe, campus partners, students and student organizations decorate white and teal paper lanterns in preparation for our Survivor Speak-out. Although this year we won’t be having our Prevention Procession, we urge you to decorate a lantern and display it throughout the month of April to raise awareness of the prevalence and impact of sexual violence. Teal is the designated awareness color for this cause and observance month. Paper lanterns with battery-operated tea lights and decorating supplies will be provided to the first 200 VU community members who stop by Project Safe on April 5 between 11 AM and 2 PM. If you are unable to visit us at that time, email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a lantern and arrange an alternative pick-up. RSVP on Anchor Link.
Privilege: The Intersection of Social Class and Sexual Violence — Tuesday, April 6, 5 PM
Author of Privilege, Mary Adkins, joins Project Safe staff for a discussion of her novel, which navigates the politics of social class and the impact of sexual assault upon students at a prestigious university. Click HERE to REGISTER. 5 PM on Zoom.
Your Campus Sexual Assault Resources — Wednesday, April 7, 12 PM
Join us at noon on April 7 to hear from representatives from Project Safe, Title IX, Student Health, the University Counseling Center, and VUPD to better understand the different campus options and resources you have if impacted by sexual assault or other forms of sexual misconduct. Click HERE to REGISTER. 12 PM on Zoom.
Trauma-Informed Yoga — Thursday, April 8 and Thursday, April 22, 4:30 PM
In collaboration with the University Counseling Center, Sarah Jordan Welch will be offering this free one-hour trauma-informed yoga session via Zoom from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE APRIL 8 SESSION.
Survivor Speak Out — Thursday, April 8, 8 PM
Join us at 8 PM on April 8 on Zoom for this year’s Survivor Speak Out. Please feel free to join this event with your camera on or off and change your display name if desired (feel free to list yourself as Anonymous or make up a name). Project Safe staff will facilitate this session and be on hand via the hotline for those seeking support. If anyone would like to talk with a Victim Resource Specialist before the speak out for guidance, help preparing your remarks, or to ask questions about this event, please call 615-875-0660 or email Lucine Markarian, email@example.com to schedule an appointment. CLICK HERE TO JOIN.
SAAM Swag Giveaway — Friday, April 9, 11 AM to 2 PM
Stop by Project Safe between 11 AM and 2 PM to grab some #SAAM2021 freebies. Masks and distancing required. Quantities limited. RSVP on Anchor Link.
Sex & Survivorship: Lessons from the Margins — Monday, April 12, 12 PM
Alex Damiano, M.Ed., MT-BC, LPC, (she/her) is a clinical therapist, educator, and community organizer working towards a future in which Southerners can revel in sexual health, body autonomy, and self-determination. Alex specializes in trauma-informed, client-centered therapy for adults and teens of marginalized gender, sexual, and/or romantic identities. She will be sharing lessons on consent and healthy relationship and sexual practices learned from the queer community, sex workers, and the kink community. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
The SANE Exam: What to Know and Expect — Tuesday, April 13, 12 PM
Dara Dixon from the Student Health Center will explain the whats and whys of the various steps and protocols of the forensic examination, also known as the SANE exam or “rape kit” that survivors sometimes obtain in the aftermath of sexual assault. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. 12-1 PM on Zoom.
Sis, Get information … IPV in the Black Community — Wednesday, April 14, 5 PM
Shanese McGregor, Victim Resource Specialist, will offer this program on prevalence, support options and other campus resources. Join us for this interactive presentation to take a closer look at rape culture within the Black community and how it relates to slavery, the racial climate at PWIs, barriers of reporting, and will examine how to change the culture. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
Navigating Sexual Harassment in Work Settings — Wednesday, April 14, 6 PM
The Vanderbilt Student Government Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Committee and Vanderbilt Women in Government have partnered to offer this program, facilitated by Project Safe Director Cara Tuttle Bell, to help students learn more about the prevalence of sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct in professional employment settings. She will discuss how to identify your reporting options and support resources across a variety of professions. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
Ashlee Haze, Poet and Spoken Word Artist — Thursday, April 15, 7 PM
Ashlee Haze is a poet and spoken word artist from Atlanta by way of Chicago. Earning the nickname “Big 30″ because of her consistency in getting a perfect score, she is one of the most accomplished poets in the sport of poetry slam. She has been a part of the Atlanta Poetry circuit for over a decade and has been writing over 15 years. Ashlee Haze is a 3-time Queen of the South poetry Slam Champion, 2-time Women of the World Poetry Slam Finalist and 2- time National Poetry Slam semi-finalist. She recently appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk series alongside Queen & Slim composer Blood Orange. Her sophomore book “Smoke” is available now. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
SAAM VSAP Conference Giveaway — Friday, April 16, 11 AM to 2 PM
Stop by Project Safe between 11 AM and 2 PM to pick up VSAP conference swag. Masks and distancing required. Quantities limited. RSVP on Anchor Link.
VSAP Presents Chanel Miller — Sunday, April 18, 5 PM
The Vanderbilt Student Government Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Committee (VSAP) welcomes writer, artist, and survivor, Chanel Miller. Her critically acclaimed memoir, KNOW MY NAME, was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner, as well as a best book of 2019 in Time, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, NPR, and People, among others. She is a 2019 Time Next 100 honoree and a 2016 Glamour Woman of the Year honoree under her pseudonym, “Emily Doe.” Chanel Miller’s breathtaking memoir “gives readers the privilege of knowing her not just as Emily Doe, but as Chanel Miller the writer, the artist, the survivor, the fighter.” (The Wrap). Her story of trauma and transcendence illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicting a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shining with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
(In)Visible Portraits Documentary Screening and Roundtable — Friday, April 16
(In)Visible Portraits, the feature documentary directorial debut from Oge Egbuonu, shatters the too-often invisible otherizing of Black women in America and reclaims the true narrative as told in their own words. Join Project Safe as we view and facilitate round table discussion regarding the (In)Visible Portraits documentary. The film illuminates the history of how we got here, dismantles the false framework of the present-day reality, celebrates the extraordinary heritage of exceptional Black women, and ignites hope for the next generation.
- Please watch the film on your own prior to the roundtable (you might try OWN TV or Prime Video).
- For additional background, or if you are unable to view the film, please watch this NeueHouse Panel Discussion featuring director Oge Egbuonu and the cast, moderated by Stephanie Ruhle.
- The roundtable discussion will be from 2PM-3PM CST on Zoom. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE ROUNDTABLE.
Faith, Sexual Assault, & Survivorship: Exploring the Intersections — Monday, April 19, 4 PM
Emily Cohen, Statewide Director of Training for the Nashville Sexual Assault Center and Consultant with the FaithTrust Institute, a national, multi-faith, multicultural training and education organization with global reach working to end sexual and domestic violence, offers this program discussing the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of faith and survivorship. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
Supporting a Survivor Workshop —Tuesday, April 20, 11 AM & 5 PM
Do you have someone important in your life who has been impacted by intimate partner violence? Do you have a hard time knowing how to be supportive? Then this is the workshop for you. Come and learn about how trauma impacts survivors, as well as how to be a supportive friend, family member, or partner. Lucine Markarian, Victim Resource Specialist and Prevention Educator with Project Safe, will offer this workshop offering strategies for proactively supporting survivors in our community. She will provide an overview of the neurobiology of trauma, to help participants better understand why the brain and body respond different ways during and after trauma, and outline tactics for avoiding victim-blaming and retraumatizing those who have experienced sexual assault. Join us to learn how to better care for the survivors in your life and affirm them on their path of coping and healing.
Assertiveness and Boundary Setting — Wednesday, April 21, 12 PM
Cara Tuttle Bell, Director of Project Safe, will provide an introduction to assertiveness training, with discussion of fair conflict resolution strategies and empowering practices for setting and maintaining boundaries in relationships of all kinds, whether personal or professional. Assertiveness and boundary setting are key to effective bystander intervention and for sustaining healthy relationships and communities. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
Trauma-Informed Yoga — Thursday, April 22, 4:30 PM
In collaboration with the University Counseling Center, Sarah Jordan Welch will be offering this free one-hour trauma-informed yoga session via Zoom from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. CLICK HERE TO JOIN.
SAAM Set The Expectation Day & Giveaway — Friday, April 23, 11 AM to 2 PM
Stop by Project Safe between 11 AM and 2 PM to sign the #SetTheExpectation pledge and pick up a free t-shirt. Masks and distancing required. Quantities limited. RSVP on Anchor Link.
Dating Apps: Intentions, Boundaries, & Tips for Staying Safe — Monday, April 26, 5 PM
Olivia Darrow, Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist, offers this educational program aligning with this year’s national SAAM theme, “Creating Safe Online Spaces.” Join us to learn strategies for using the apps strategically by setting intentions ahead of time, setting boundaries as you interact with others, and evaluate your risks for virtual and in-person encounters with the people you meet. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
Calling Out Inappropriate Behavior — Tuesday, April 27, 3 PM
Lucine Markarian, Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist, will discuss strategies for effectively intervening to address inappropriate behavior. During this program we will discuss allyship, activism, bystander intervention, and ways to confront problematic behavior. Research shows that these early acts of bystander intervention are key for reducing the likelihood of escalating harms and deterring the cultivation of communities that tolerate sexism, classism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, racism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia that contribute towards high rates of sexual misconduct in both the public and private spheres. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
#AllMenCan: Men’s Role in Prevention — Wednesday, April 28, 6 PM
Otis McGresham, Ed.D., Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist with Project Safe will provide a roadmap for men who want to engage authentically, effectively, and appropriately as allies and accomplices in efforts to reduce and prevent sexual violence in their community. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
Sex in the Dark — Thursday, April 29, 7 PM
Let’s wrap up SAAM2021 with this fun, educational event. Sex in the Dark is a Q&A event where a panel of sexual health experts answer students’ anonymous questions about sexual health and relationships. “Sexperts” from the Vandy Sex Ed Peer Educators, Project Safe, KCPC, and Student Health Center will answer students’ anonymous questions about topics like sexual pleasure, communication and consent, anatomy, safer sex practices, sexual identity, and more. Join us and get your sex and/or sexuality questions answered…without judgement! Sex in the Dark aims to support a sex-positive campus culture by providing medically accurate and student-friendly health information while promoting campus and community resources. Join us on Zoom, cameras on or off, as you wish, and feel free to change your Zoom display name if that would make you more comfortable. Attendees can submit questions in advance or via the chat feature to have your sexual health, consent, and other related questions answered by a panel of sex-positive experts from across campus. Curious about something or have questions you’re afraid to ask elsewhere? This is the place. Be sure to pick up your glow-in-the-dark SAAM swag prior to the event to wear while we’re together and heighten the mood! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
SAAM Wrap-Up & Giveaway — Friday, April 30, 11 AM to 2 PM
Stop by Project Safe as we wrap up another SAAM to pick up a small craft or self-care kit to celebrate your last day of classes. Stop by Project Safe between 11 AM and 2 PM to pick up a free self-care kit. Masks and distancing required. Quantities limited. RSVP on Anchor Link.
Observe SAAM Wherever You Are
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center offers many free, online resources available to survivors, activists, allies, prevention educators, and friends and family members of survivors.
There are several online resources offering ideas for online or virtual education and activist efforts. Consider how you may be able to offer or participate in the following awareness, prevention education, and culture change actions
- The National Sexual Violence Resource Center offers a variety of free online guides, downloads, and other resources to help you observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and engage in prevention education all year long. Browse their 2020 SAAM guide here https://www.nsvrc.org/saam.
- Education and Awareness raising – social media, email newsletter, webinars
- The #MeToo Movement provides information, toolkits, guides for taking action, and resources for survivors, activists, allies, friends and family
- We As Ourselves is a new collaboration, powered by The ‘me too’ Movement, National Women’s Law Center, and TIME’S UP Foundation to reshape the narrative around sexual violence and its impact on Black survivors
- The Asian Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence is a national resource center on domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence in Asian/Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities
- EVERFI Blog and EVERFI White Papers make great, easy to share educational resources and EVERFI Case Studies and Webinars are ideal for providing education and professional development for staff and faculty
- The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) How Social Media can Amplify your SAAM Message
- One Student offers free, shareable online videos and downloads addressing ways to support survivors, engage as bystanders, activists, and allies
- The One Love Foundation offers videos, articles, and virtual training for preventing dating violence
- Ending Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) offers free online training modules
- Participate in the #30DaysofSAAM Instagram contest to engage others in a fun and creative way. Follow @NSVRC on Instagram to get daily prompts during the month of April and then respond to them with a photo using #30DaysofSAAM and tag @NSVRC.
- Participate in Survivor Love Letter, a movement for survivors of sexual assault and their allies to publicly celebrate their lives. It was started by filmmaker and activist, Tani Ikeda in 2012 on the anniversary of her rape where she penned a letter to her younger self that ended with the words: “this is my survivor love letter.” Since then, #SurvivorLoveLetter has rippled out and become a hashtag, a letter writing campaign, a national mural project, and a viral social movement. These letters have immersed thousands of survivors with the message that not only are they believed, not only are they supported, they are loved.
- Political advocacy and activism may conducted online (emails, hashtags, direct messages, petitions)
- Participate in political advocacy during SAAM by writing letters to local, state, territory, tribal, and national government officials about policies related to sexual violence that impact your community like rape kit backlogs and statutes of limitations.
- Provide information and templates to community members – including young people – to encourage them to participate in this campaign.
- Host a Twitter Chat to raise awareness, educate, and engage your followers. Advertise your Twitter account and the Twitter chat on your other existing forms of social media. Designate a specific timeframe to begin and end your chat. Typically, a chat time of one hour works well. Prepare a list of questions to ask your followers. Prepare some facts to share. Be sure to designate a hashtag for your chat or chat series and include it you’re your questions and in every related tweet. Encourage participants to please use the hashtag, which allows for others to read the conversation later, if they were not able to participate in real time. Retweet participant answers, as appropriate, and like participant tweets, and thank everyone for participating at the end.
- Host a virtual event using the Facebook Live feature by streaming your event your Facebook audience in real time. Participants may watch, listen, and/or comment throughout your video. If some staff continue reporting to work or other site, you may use a computer webcam or smartphone to broadcast a discussion, book group, or other interactive program. That Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs offers free discussion guides online.
- Host an online pledge drive. Using any social media platform, designate a theme or call to action and a hashtag. This may be conducted over a period of days or weeks. Link to an online article, blogpost, or other resource to help educate your followers on a certain issue. You may participate in existing online pledge efforts (It’s On Us and No More, for example) or tailor this effort to an existing program or slogan for your community.
- Hold a virtual movie screening and online discussion. Your college or university library may offer a tool to screen movies for free online, or you can simply encourage people to watch the same film on their preferred provider and then join for a Facebook Live facilitated video discussion or to use Facebook or Twitter for an online chat. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center offers ideas for movies to screen during SAAM.
- Host an online trivia night or other game. WCSAP offers SAAM Bingo cards and a blank template. Consider hosting this virtually, using Zoom Meeting, Facebook Live, or other video streaming platform. The stakes should be low, as, depending upon the activity, it may be challenging to ensure fair play using online methods; however, if goal of the activity remains focused on education and prevention, it matters less who wins. If someone on your team has access to your program’s swag, perhaps you could offer to mail the prize to the winner. If your organization sells merchandise, the prize could be a discount code. Consider ways to create a PDF prize, such as SAAM coloring sheets or an activity book that may be sent to the winner electronically.
- Host your own social media content contest on a certain topic. For example, if you were planning on hosting an awareness quilt activity, ask followers to use Canva or other content creation service to create an Instagram post. With enough participants and intentional posting, you can create a virtual quilt on Instagram, or someone can combine the images into a larger image that may be shared via email, saved as a PDF, featured on your website, or shared online.
- Offer Recommended Reading lists and an online version of a book discussion, whether video, online chat, or social media comments.