Nov. 30, 2007
Ribbon campaign to show support for sexual assault survivors
Many members of the community are looking for a way to show their commitment to ending violence against women and provide support for sexual assault survivors.
Staff members from the University of Iowa Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) invite the public to participate in the White Ribbon Campaign from Monday, Dec. 3 to Friday, Dec. 14.
The White Ribbon Campaign is an international campaign that asks men to make a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women, said Alondra Canizal, RVAP prevention education coordinator.
"By wearing a white ribbon, men can show their support for survivors of sexual assault and their intolerance for violence against women on our campus," Canizal said. "RVAP is joining with the White Ribbon Campaign by bringing the event to our community, which is especially important in light of the numerous sexual assaults reported in the community."
People can pick up their ribbons from the RVAP office at 320 S. Linn St. in Iowa City or at the Iowa Memorial Union front desk starting Monday, Dec. 3 through Dec. 14. The ribbons are free.
Diane Funk, RVAP assistant director, said, "RVAP is excited to join the International White Ribbon Campaign in this visible sign of support for victims of sexual violence and intolerance for violence against women in our community."
Sam Cochran, director of University Counseling Service, said he plans to be one of the first to pick up his white ribbon, and hopes many more men will do the same.
"It is vitally important that men speak out and take a stand against gender-based violence," Cochran said. "If men don't make their commitment to working against gender based violence public, their silence could be misconstrued as indifference or, worse, tacit approval of such actions by men. I know that is not the case for the men I know in this community, and I hope they will join me in speaking out against gender based violence."
Women can also participate in these efforts by wearing the traditional teal ribbon, which is a national symbol for the elimination of sexual assault and support for survivors of sexual assault, Canizal said. The teal ribbons can also be picked up at the RVAP office or the IMU front desk.
"Together, we can put an end to sexual violence on our campus," Canizal said.
Last year RVAP provided services to at least 86 members of the UI community who reported experiencing some form of sexual abuse. Fifty-two of those incidents involved a rape of a UI student. In July, August and September of 2007, RVAP provided services to 15 students who were victims of rape, Canizal said.
For more information about the White Ribbon Campaign, see http://www.whiteribbon.ca or call RVAP at 319-335-6001.
For more information on RVAP, located at 320 S. Linn St. in Iowa City, visit http://www.rvap.org. The site provides information about statistics, education, victim services and resources. The 24-hour Rape Crisis Line number, at 319-335-6000, offers free and confidential information, support, advocacy and counseling to victim/survivors of sexual assault and their partners, friends, and family members. Trained sexual assault advocates provide information, phone counseling, in-person medical and legal advocacy and resources and referrals. The Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline is 1-800-284-7821.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500