Georgia Southern University's Sexual Assault Response Team is hosting Sexual Assault & Spring Break Awareness Week on campus this week through Thursday. The week aims to unify individuals against sexual violence with two major events scheduled throughout the week as part of the campaign.
"This is the 15th year that we've done this event on our campus," said Jodi Caldwell, Ph.D., the director of the University Counseling Center and the chairwoman of the Sexual Assault Response Team. "We do our awareness week prior to spring break because it's a high-risk time for sexual assault, and while education in this field is always important, we want to educate our student community before they go on break to increase their safety."
Students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in the Clothesline Project at the Russell Union Rotunda and Recreation Activity Center lobby from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at the Centennial Place Café from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., where they can create a T-shirt to express their emotions and reactions regarding sexual violence. The shirts created will then be displayed to represent the various forms and degrees of sexual violence.
As part of the week's events, a Take Back the Night Rally and March will be held Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Anyone who wishes to participate should arrive at the Russell Union Rotunda at 7 p.m. The event will include a candlelight vigil, rally, survivor speak-out and the large-scale public march.
Since the 1970s in the United States, Take Back the Night has focused on eliminating sexual and domestic violence in all forms. Thousands of colleges, domestic violence shelters, and rape crisis centers have held events across the country. Georgia Southern continues to participate in the tradition to encourage the campus community to unify against sexual violence.
Because Georgia Southern works in conjunction with the Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault Center, Christy Perry, the director of the center, strongly supports this initiative taking place before spring break.
"We know some students are going to engage in semi-risky behavior on spring break," Perry said. "We offer 24/7 free services such as counseling, crisis intervention, forensic exams and medication among other services. We want students to know that no matter what happens, they'll have the resources they need and that we're here."
For more information on the Sexual Assault Response Team, visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu/counseling/crisis/sexual-assault-response-team/ or contact Caldwell at jodic@GeorgiaSouthern.edu.