City, County recognize April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month
By Joe Bachman
“I’m a survivor. And so many times we hear to ask the survivors of the story; but in reality we only want to hear what happened to them. What horrific thing did this person do to you? But we don’t want to hear the aftermath. We don’t want to hear about the hundreds of dollars in medication and counseling services. We don’t want to hear about the friends and acquaintances that have abandoned you because of what has happened to you, because they don’t believe you’re telling the truth.” – Brianna Havens, survivor
STEVENS POINT — City, county, and university leaders gathered on the corner of Reserve Street and Fourth Avenue to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month on Monday, April 1.
In honor of the month, the campus portion of Fourth Avenue will be renamed Teal Street, teal being the sexual assault awareness color. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. In a later survey, in the United States one in three women and one in six men experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime.
It’s an issue that commonly spreads to campuses, as well. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, 20-25 percent of women and 15 percent of men are sexually assaulted during their time in college. Over 90 percent of victims on campus do not report their assault. Over 50 percent of faculty members also experience sexual harassment.
Chancellor Bernie Patterson spoke on the importance of the event, as sexual assault hits home for many.
“This is unacceptable.” said Patterson.
“You don’t have to look very far to find somebody that’s very close to you that has been unfortunately victimized in this way,” he said. “Let’s work together to make our campus a safe place to work, a safe place to learn, a safe place to study, and a safe place to be.”
Mayor Mike Wiza and County Executive Chris Holman drew a proclamation requesting public support and assistance in decreasing sexual assault while increasing awareness, as they declared April Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“This is unfortunate that we have to be here every April, but we are making progress,” said Wiza. “The continued work through our campus, our law enforcement, the city, county, and the entire community is important.”
University of Wisconsin Stevens Point student Brianna havens spoke bravely at the gathering, as she read a few poems written on her experience on being a victim and a survivor of sexual assault.
“They don’t tell you about all of the hours of the classes you’ve missed because you are stuck at home crying and shaking because of your PTSD.” said Havens, as she made remarks before reading one of three poems.
Afterwards, those in attendance watched as the new street sign was installed.
For more information on sexual assault awareness, please visit https://www.nsvrc.org/statistics
For more on upcoming educational events on awareness on the subject, visit UW-Stevens Point to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April