The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Recreation and Wellness Center fosters awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

GVL | Risho Wooten

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. On April 3, Grand Valley State University’s Recreation and Wellness Center hosted the “Letters to Survivors” event, where students could write letters to uplift and show support to sexual assault survivors. The event was held inside Kirkhof Center. 

Recreation and Wellness’ aim for the event was to not only show support to sexual assault survivors, but also to help provide an educational and accessible space to foster awareness and conversation about the serious topic. 

Aside from the letter writing station, the Recreation and Wellness center also had a cart with free condoms and safe sex supplies. They also provided snacks, coloring pages and a nail painting station with teal nail polish. Teal represents sexual assault awareness month and support. For survivors, the color symbolizes hope, healing and resilience.

Katie Jourdan, the assistant director for the Recreation and Wellness Center and interim violence prevention coordinator, organized the event. 

“This month we are partnering with a lot of organizations to bring awareness to sexual assault, open discussions and to support survivors,” Jourdan said. “We know that there are survivors on campus and want to do our part to be supportive and do what we can to prevent sexual assault.” 

Jourdan said having a tabling event this accessible, and in a high traffic area like Kirkhof Center, allows people to stop by to see what is going on. 

“Letters of support (aim to be a) student to student option to support those who are going through a very traumatic experience,” Jourdan says. 

In continuation to the Letters to Survivors event, the center also hosted a Carekit Creation event. This event focused on putting carekits together with the letters produced by students.

The kits are then given to the ​​Victim & Survivor Advocacy division of the Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity. These organizations work with survivors directly on campus.

“If we have enough (letters), we will be donating them to a couple of local community organizations that serve the people in the community,” Jourdan said.

The Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity, the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, and the Recreation and Wellness Center are working together to advocate and build awareness and support during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The Center for Women and Gender Equity holds monthly events like “Talk Back Tuesday” and “Film Friday.” For this month, the content of these events will be catered towards raising awareness and educating participants about Sexual Assault Awareness month.

“Our pure educators are really great at going to some of those drop in activities,” Jourdan said. “Later in the planning process, we got sorority and fraternity life involved. They will be doing a Power Punch. They have a kickboxing instructor, who is also a student, hosting that.” 

Jourdan said it is important to get student organizations involved, as there is a higher risk that college students will experience sexual assault. According to the organization RAINN, 13% of all students experience sexual assault while on college campuses.

“At Grand Valley, we want to do our part to prevent that (sexual assault),” Jourdan said. “And bring awareness to it when it is happening on campus. We do know that stalking and sexual violence happens on college campuses so it is really important to be aware and spread that awareness to everyone in the community (through events like these.)”

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