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Penn State To Host Sexual Assault Awareness Events Throughout April

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM), Penn State’s Gender Equity Center is set to host a variety of events and workshops. The events and workshops aim to raise awareness within the Penn State community that last beyond just this month.

Healing Through Music: Concert & Conversation With Jessica Browning

Jessica Browning, a singer and electric harp player, will host a concert and conversation at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, in Freeman Auditorium in the HUB. Browning has performed around the world and believes music can truly help a person heal from their trauma. She showcases that belief in her most recent album “The Odyssey.” Browning will share her story of surviving childhood sexual abuse and hopes to create a safe space for attendees.

Honoring Survival: Transforming The Spirit

In collaboration with Centre Safe, the Gender Equity Center will highlight the stories of survivors and their supporters at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, in 107 Pasquerilla Center. The annual event will also feature a performance by Browning and a self-care cardmaking activity hosted by art therapy assistant teaching professor Erin Carter and licensed professional counselor from The Highlands Megan Hutchens. The event aims to bring issues to light and spotlight Penn State’s resources for anyone who needs them.

“Take Back The Night”

At 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, at Old Main, Lambda Theta Alpha will lead a march around campus encouraging individuals to share their stories. In collaboration with Centre Safe and the Gender Equity Center, the march will conclude at Old Main Lawn with a glow-stick vigil. Additionally, the first 50 students to attend will receive a free t-shirt to show their support of the event.

“What Were You Wearing?”

The “What Were You Wearing?” Survivor Art Installation collects stories from members of the Penn State community to disprove the belief that what a person is wearing can provoke sexual assault. Both the stories and outfits of each individual will be on display to challenge the damaging opinion and promote awareness. The installation will be in place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 5, in 101 HUB for anyone to view.

Men Against Violence (MAV) Walk 

The Men Against Violence Walk will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, on the HUB Lawn. The mile-long walk around campus hopes to raise awareness that sexual violence is a men’s issue as much as it is a women’s issue. Participants must register and can sign in starting at 1:30 p.m. at which point they can receive a free shirt and design signs. Just before the march kicks off at 2 p.m., attendees can enjoy keynote speeches.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Moderated Conversation With Matt McGorry

Matt McGorry is an actor best known for his roles in “Orange is the New Black” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” McGorry is also a self-proclaimed activist for various issues, including the awareness of sexual violence. This moderated conversation will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, in the HUB’s Heritage Hall. McGorry will discuss men’s role in sexual assault prevention and why having an understanding of consent and bystander intervention is important.

Denim Day

On Wednesday, April 24, the Gender Equity Center invites students to participate in the annual celebration of Denim Day. Denim Day was created in 1999 in response to an Italian Supreme Court ruling to overturn a rape conviction because the fit of the victim’s jeans implied her consent. The following day, women in the Italian Parliament showed up to work in jeans to support the victim.

Students are encouraged to wear denim in solidarity and can even pick up patches of denim from the Gender Equity table in the HUB to pin to their outfits or write supportive messages on. Then, students can either share pictures of their denim outfits on social media with #DenimDay2024 and tag the Gender Equity Center’s account or send their pictures to skm5679@psu.edu to be uploaded on the Gender Equity Center’s social media. 

More information regarding April’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month events or the organizations that are contributing throughout the month can be found here.

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About the Author

Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty is a senior majoring in English and an associate editor at Onward State. She loves making music, consuming the maximum daily amount of coffee recommended by the FDA, and overanalyzing Taylor Swift lyrics. Feel free to follow her on Instagram @meganedougherty and forward any (free) The Eras Tour tickets to her email, [email protected]

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