The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Center for Prevention and Education holds Sexual Assault Awareness Month events

4 min read

Various on-campus events are being hosted throughout the month of April in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. | Abbey Magnet, The Weekly Ringer


Staff Writer

In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April, UMW’s Center for Prevention and Education is holding various events related to sexual violence awareness, support and education. 

Linda Catullo, the project director to reduce sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking at the center, assisted with programming for the month’s events, beginning with trauma-informed yoga on March 31, co-sponsored by Campus Recreation and the Talley Center. 

The trauma-informed yoga class “was very well attended,” she said. “It was a wonderful class. We had an instructor that came in who is certified just in trauma-informed yoga.”

The last event of the month hosted will be Denim Day on April 26, sponsored by the center and the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault. The Denim Day campaign has been run by Peace Over Violence for the past 22 years. 

“They write empowering messages on denim and then they are displayed for everyone to see,” said Catullo. 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month was first nationally observed in 2001. In 2000, the newly created National Sexual Violence Resource Center and the Resource Sharing Project gathered data from sexual violence coalitions to form the symbol, a teal ribbon, and underpinnings of Sexual Assault Awareness Month as it is today. The work of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, along with other parties, was recognized by the executive office in 2009 with President Obama’s proclamation that formally classified April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“Sexual Assault Awareness Month is incredibly important and brings light to a serious issue that still gets overlooked a lot,” said Bailey Merriman, a senior English major. “This is an issue that everyone should be fighting to prevent, regardless of whether or not they have been personally affected.”

The Center for Prevention and Education was created in 2016 with a mission to address sex- and gender-based violence through prevention, awareness and education, intervention and advocacy. They manage the You Are Not Alone webpage, a complete and detailed source of information for survivors of sex- and gender-based violence at UMW.

“I think it’s really impactful and important that UMW and campus organizations like the CPE are doing awareness and community building work,” said Jamie Van Doren, a senior women’s, gender and sexuality studies major. ”It lets people know that we’re a supportive community and helps us all feel less alone.” 

Catullo encourages all students to attend the month’s events.

“I hope that students get out to see some of these events, they can be really empowering and very emotional,” she said. “Many individuals might think if they haven’t been a victim of sexual assault, that it doesn’t pertain to them. But I think it would be wonderful for everyone to attend because they can hear other people’s stories and education is key for awareness, which is what we’re trying to spread.”

Remaining Sexual Assault Awareness Month events

Dear Colleagues: Title IX Exhibition | March 6–April 28, Simpson Library

  • The Center for Prevention and Education, Simpson Library, athletics department and Office of Title IX and ADA Compliance sponsored an exhibit in Simpson Library titled “Dear Colleagues: Title IX Exhibition.” The exhibit showcases the history of Title IX and activism on and off the field.

Take Back the Night | 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, Lee Hall Patio

  • The Center for Prevention and Education will host Take Back the Night in conjunction with other on- and off-campus organizations. The event will allow survivors to share their stories and how they overcame sexual assault.

Navigating Relationships and Intimacy After Sexual Assault | 5–6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, Zoom

  • The Talley Center, Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault and Center for Prevention and Education will hold a Zoom session that addresses questions and provides education about navigating relationships and intimacy after sexual assault. 

Hour 2 Empower | 9 a.m.–12 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, Colonnade Room, CRUC 315

  • The Center for Prevention and Education, Community Outreach and Resources and UMW Athletics, will host a service-learning event for volunteers will learn more about supporting survivors while constructing Fear 2 Freedom kits that will be donated to local providers. These kits are distributed to survivors of sexual assault who endured the hospital physical evidence recovery kit exam in which personal belongings and clothing are often collected as evidence. 

Doing My Part Through Art | 12–4 p.m. on Monday, April 17, CRUC second floor kiosk B

  • The Center for Prevention and Education will host Doing My Part Through Art, where students can pick up a coloring sheet. Completed artwork may be sent to the Center through Instagram via @umwcpe. The top three submissions will receive prizes. 

Denim Day | 10 a.m.–1 p.m. on April 26, CRUC second floor

  • The Center for Prevention and Education and Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault will host Denim Day, an event run by Peace Over Violence where people wear denim to combat victim blaming.