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Students and Faculty Spread Awareness About Sexual Assault During the Month of April and Beyond

April 18, 2024

By Chloe Laszlo '25

During the month of April, the University Mount Union spreads awareness about sexual assault to its students, staff, and faculty, so they can protect themselves and others, recognize the signs of a vitim or abusers, and work to prevent sexual violence from happening. Working tirelessly at the forefront of this movement is Alpha Chi Omega

This sorority's chosen philanthropy addresses issues of domestic violence along with sexual assault, and works closely with the Alliance Area Domestic Violence Shelter to help raise money through fundraisers, toy drives, and drives to help supply needed items for the shelter. Although they primarily support the AADVS, for Easter the sorority donated plastic eggs filled with candy to nine different domestic violence shelters. 

Oliviana (Liv) Lika ‘27, Criminal Justice major and Alpha Chi Omega’s vice president of philanthropy, said, “Our mission is cultivating impactful communities where women are inspired to connect, lead, grow, and serve.” 

In February, the sorority held a donut fundraiser in the Hoover-Price Campus Center to promote healthy relationships called “Donut Let Love Hurt” along with events throughout the week advocating for healthy relationships. 

For April they are going to be hosting Denim Day, which will be held April 22 in the Newbold Room from 5-7 p.m. This day originates from a girl raped by a man who claimed that because she was wearing skinny jeans “she was asking for it.” The event will consist of a basket raffle fundraiser and a presentation to raise awareness about sexual assault. Different groups will speak on the topic along with a speaker who will share his sexual assault experience. Students, faculty, and staff are also encouraged to wear denim for the day.

Not only are we promoting sexual assault awareness, but we are also saying that the clothing we wear is not an excuse or invitation for rape, harassment, assault, or abuse of any kind,” said Lika. 

Beyond the month of April, Mount Union holds various events that promote awareness about sexual violence. One such event is Walk a Mile in Their Shoes, which is held every October. Students, faculty, and members of the community gather together and walk a mile around campus, with some even wearing high-heels, to show their support and solidarity in ending domestic violence. 

Mark Black, Mount Union’s chief diversity officer and senior Title IX administrator, says that this month’s events have provided ways for the campus community to act on preventing sexual harassment, abuse, and assault, but that this awareness should not start or end in April. 

“Our goal is to expand our efforts beyond the month and provide opportunities to stay involved after April so that the spotlight constantly shines on prevention and support,” said Black. 

Our goal is to expand our efforts beyond the month and provide opportunities to stay involved after April so that the spotlight constantly shines on prevention and support

Over one in three women and one in four men have experienced domestic violence from a partner, and 81% of women have experienced sexual assault or harassment in their lifetime. Mount Union and Alpha Chi Omega recognize the severity of these statistics and are working all year to make a difference, but April is especially a time when those in the campus community and beyond can get involved, learn how to protect themselves and others, and hear stories directly from sexual assault survivors. 

Every Tuesday until the end of April, Mount Union has been sending out emails titled Teal Tuesdays, which is the color used to represent sexual violence prevention. These emails detail resources, events like Denim Day, and links to activist and survivors’ stories. Mount Union also hosted Take Back the Night on April 18, where those wanting to get involved gathered to discuss what we can do as a community to create a culture of care and compassion. 

If you or a loved one has experienced sexual assault or violence you are not alone, and there are resources on and off campus available to help you. 

If you need to report an assault, you can do so via the reporting webpage or by contacting Mark Black, chief diversity officer and senior Title IX administrator, at (330) 829-4904

Mount Union also offers counseling services behind the info desk in the Campus Center. To schedule an appointment call (330) 823-2886 or email Walk-in hours are from 2-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. 

You can also reach out to the 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.