In light of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Sexual Assault Awareness Facilitative Services (SAAFE) Office is leading informational events throughout April in order to spread and information about sexual assault.
“We’re out there trying to make students aware of the resources, what’s out there- the SAAFE office, Title IX office, the SAAFE Advocates, as well as just some small steps they can take in bystander intervention to make Valpo a safer campus. So it’s just getting students to kind of turn their head and focus a little bit more, so that they know what the resources are,” Assistant Director of OED and SAAFE Natalie Muskin-Press said.
Muskin-Press described the SAAFE office itself as a tool available for all students whenever they feel they need the help.
“My office is tasked with overseeing a lot of the prevention and education areas regarding sexual assault awareness, domestic violence, abusive relationships, that type of thing. [We’re] working to find different ways to help the student body become informed about those issues as well as providing a place for students to come where they can receive confidential services,” Muskin-Press said. “So I’m a place where someone can come if they’ve been assaulted, or are concerned that their relationship might not be healthy, where they can have these conversations in a space that they will not need to be reported out.”
The SAAFE advocates have been working closely with the SAAFE office for SAAM, getting activities planned to help increase awareness.
“The SAAFE advocates will be tabling [for a week] to give away some education materials, as well as just some fun activities. They’re going to be encouraging students to pledge to make Valpo a safe campus. There will be multiple events in conjunction- SAAFE Advocates are working with GUARDS to do a denim day event, and then with counselors for social justice into graduate school as well,” Muskin-Press said.
One of the bigger things the SAAFE office and SAAFE advocates have for the month of April is a donation drive for their Emergency Backpack kits.
“We are running a donation drive for students who would like to donate items for our emergency backpack kits- which are things where if a student needs to go to the hospital due to the aftermath of sexual assault, they’ll have some items there for them, so we’re trying to restock those backpacks, and our goal is to kind of have backpacks in different areas. SAAFE office will have them, VUPD will have them, residential life will have them, so that if a student is in need of it, they can have access to that,” Muskin-Press said.
They are looking for things like feminine protection supplies, wet ones, travel toothbrushes/toothpaste, toiletries, towels/washcloths, notebooks, and pens to make their emergency backpack kits.
At the beginning of the month, chalk drawings and messages could be seen around campus, trying to support and spread awareness of sexual assault, which was just one of the many ideas SAAFE and SAAFE advocates had for this month.
“Just a little bit of something, so that you can be actively engaged by going to the events or donating- or you can just be aware of it, have your awareness raised. You can pick up a button, so that you can always be promoting the understanding of sexual violence,” Muskin-Press said.
Be on the lookout for events throughout the month- for more information on what SAAFE and SAAFE advocates are doing for Sexual Assault Awareness month, visit their Instagram page (@valpo_saafe).