North Texas Daily

Sexual assault awareness events begin this week

Sexual assault awareness events begin this week

April 04
10:14 2016

Alexandria Reeves | Staff Writer

@alliereeves23

April is sexual assault awareness month, so beginning this week UNT faculty, community members and student organizations will host events to educate and prepare students for sexual violence.

One of the most-attended events is the nationwide Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, April 11, in Library Mall. This event is well known for having men wear high heels to symbolically take on the struggle of gendered violence.

Another popular event is Take Back the Night, scheduled for April 28, also in Library Mall. This year’s Take Back the Night is especially important, planners said, because UNT was picked as one of the nation’s 10 Points of Light. This means UNT will be included with nine other locations across the United States that will unite for a candlelight vigil to show support for victims of sexual violence.

The month’s calendar of events can be found here.

Survivor advocate Renee McNamara and UNT’s Committee on Prevention and Education on Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence planned the events UNT is involved with. It took about six months for the committee to plan these events, McNamara said.

Dr. Maureen McGuinness, the dean of students, initially formed the committee in 2014. She said by the end of April, she wants victims and advocates alike to be educated on how to prevent sexual assault, and wants anyone who is a survivor to know that she and the community are there to support them.

Last year, UNT was awarded a $50,000 grant by the Texas Attorney General to provide aid to sexual assault survivors, and this has given them the ability to reach out to more victims and provide them with additional services, officials said.

The Denton Police Department, Denton County Friends of the Family, the UNT Pride Alliance, members of Greek life and Student Government Association are among the organizations across Denton promoting this month’s events.

“Many women and men have been assaulted in their lifetime, some even on campus,” international studies senior Devon Jaimes said. “A lot of us don’t feel validated and are isolated in speaking about this, having it be a campus effort brings unity and the tools to be safer.”

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