April 10, 2007
Note: The Clothesline Project, a visual display of shirts designed by victims of violence, originally scheduled for display on Thursday, April 12, has been re-scheduled for Tuesday, April 17 due to inclement weather. The display will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the University of Iowa Pentacrest.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month In April Promotes Prevention Year Round
The "Cup of Prevention" campaign, a project of the University of Iowa Rape Victim Advocacy Program, is brewing up interest in Sexual Assault Awareness Month in communities across Eastern Iowa.
Focused on coffee shops, the project features displays, a silent demonstration and other activities through the end of April, all designed to raise community awareness of sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. The annual Cup of Prevention campaign is a major component of the month-long recognition, said Karla Miller, executive director of the UI Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP).
"We work year-around to keep focus and attention on the problem of sexual assault in our community, because this isn't a problem that only happens once in a while or to only a few people," Miller said. "The Cup of Prevention campaign reaches out to women and men in an area where many people congregate and feel comfortable -- community coffee shops -- so this is a great venue to educate and empower people with resources and knowledge."
Miller said the month, which is a nationwide observance, is a time in which "we collectively focus on the issues, express support for victims and survivors who were forced to experience abuse, and come up with strategies to address these issues. It is a time when we can come together as a community and renew our commitment to making life safer for everyone."
The Cup of Prevention campaign includes displays with information on crisis intervention, counseling, hospital services, prevention tips and safety whistles. The displays are set up at coffee shops around Eastern Iowa: Hill of Beans in Durant; House of Aromas in three locations in Iowa City; Coffee Corner in Washington; New Pioneer Co-op in Coralville and in Iowa City; Stoplight Café in Tipton; Starbucks in Iowa City; Corridor Coffee in North Liberty; and Java Lounge in Williamsburg. The display is sponsored by RVAP and the Johnson County Sexual Assault Response Team.
The public can also view book displays, which offer free bookmarks as well as information about sexual assault and RVAP services, at the following locations: Stanwood Public Library, Mechanicsville Public Library, Tipton Public Library, Coralville Public Library, Iowa Book & Supply, North Liberty Community Library, Victor Public Library and Lowden Public Library.
In addition to the month-long coffee shop and library displays, a number of events are planned. Highlights include:
Thursday, April 12: The Clothesline Project, a visual display of shirts designed by victims of violence, will be on the UI Pentacrest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The display, co-sponsored by the UI College of Public Health Student Association, will feature 450 t-shirts designed by victims or, in the case of homicide, by friends and relatives of victims. The t-shirts bear witness to person-to-person violence against people who have experienced sexual assault, child sexual abuse, domestic and gender violence and hate crimes.
Also on Thursday, April 12: The public is invited join a Silent Witness Event on the Pentacrest, to stand up against sexual violence. Participants will begin gathering at noon and from 12:15-12:30 p.m. will stand silently in a visual expression of solidarity against sexual assault, and in honor of victims of sexual violence. The event is co-sponsored by Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and the RVAP.
Soumya Palreddy, RVAP education coordinator, said "These two events are the face of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Combined, the events express the prevalence of violence and its impact in our community."
Saturday, April 21: The public is invited to Night Games from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the UI Field House for drug/alcohol free activities.
For more information or to view the complete schedule of events for the rest of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, visit http://www.rvap.org and click on news and events at the bottom of the page.
The month also helps to dispel misconceptions people may have about sexual assault.
Miller said that estimates indicate that only one out of eight to 10 rapes are reported to anyone. In 75 to 85 percent of rapes that occur, the victim knows the assailant. In most cases, females are victimized by males.
"Although the vast majority of rapes involve females as the victims, there is a percentage of cases in which men are sexually victimized, such as in hazing situations, drug-facilitated sexual assault, adults who were victimized as children and men targeted in hate crimes by racist and/or homophobic assailants," Miller said. "People need to remember that sexual assault is an expression of anger, power, control, humiliation, hatred and domination."
For more information on RVAP, located at 320 S. Linn Street 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.