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The Sexual Assault Awareness & Facilitative Education office (SAAFE) held a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 30 to discuss the plans for a future event they have in the works to raise awareness for victims of sexual assault in relationships and the workplace. The event is set for April 2, 2020 and has already garnered support from many different organizations on campus. Athena Society, Greeks United Around Respect and Discussion of Sexual Assault (GUARDS) and LIVE are all organizations that have voiced their support for SAAFE and this project. 

The event will be called SAAFEty Net and will feature a series of net-like structures, hand-crafted by the members of SAAFE, to collect stories that are submitted anonymously of those who have been victims of sexual assault in relationships or the workplace. The art exhibit of the nets is tentatively planned to be set up on campus for about a week prior to the actual event on April 2. The nets will also serve as a space for students to submit anonymous messages of support for victims.

“The more stories we get, the more impactful this [event] will be for victims and other people who have friends and family who this has happened to,” said President of SAAFE Tasha Abraham. She encourages students to follow the event and look out for more information in the coming months. 

“The Vice President [of SAAFE, Anna De Windt] is working on some advertisements and a QR code that will link up to a Google Form where people could submit all of these stories or messages,” Abraham said of the ongoing work to spread awareness of the event. The Google Form will be accessible for everyone on February 5 and will continue to be up while the art installation is as well. This is an extra way to ensure the anonymity of the stories being shared for the project. 

SAAFE is also hoping there will be enough support from students and organizations on campus to have different organizations contribute their own stories and messages as well as help with the execution of the event. 

“We want this to be as widespread as possible on campus,” Abraham said. 

SAAFE also hopes to have multiple different elements in the SAAFEty Net event, including dramatic readings of victims’ stories and other interactive elements. 

“The point we are trying to make with the web is the web of things that happen, the complications that happen with sexual assault and how things get tangled up. The other part is the experience we want to be is the impact it has on people. Sexual assault is not just something happened to one person but it really has a ripple effect and it effects many people,” Coordinator of the SAAFE office Paula Dranger said of the goal of the event. 

Dranger strongly emphasized the theme of the effect that sexual assault has on people throughout the meeting. 

“The goal is empowerment,” Abraham said. Abraham hopes that the exhibit and event will draw many students to come and share their stories, anonymously, as well as draw attention to the very real issue of sexual assault. She also hopes there are other organizations on campus that will be willing to help with the event and, in turn, help spread awareness of the issue of sexual assault. 

For more information on the event, students are encouraged to email the SAAFE office (saafe.office@valpo.edu), follow the SAAFE Instagram account (@saafevalpo) once it is up and running and look forward to more promotions of the event from the SAAFE office. 

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