Blog: April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
By: General Counsel Kristen Bowes
To our Mercy College Community:
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As statistics reveal, 1 in 5 women and approximately six percent of men will experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault while in college. Sexual violence occurs regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual identity, race, and ethnicity and includes sexual assault, intimate-partner violence, and stalking. Sexual violence teaches victims that their bodies are not really their own. Survivors often report feelings such as shame, terror, depression, and guilt and often blame themselves for the assault. Many survivors of sexual assault experience mental health challenges, such as depression, anxiety and/or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mercy College wants all community members who are survivors of sexual violence, as well as friends and allies of survivors, to know that we support you. We want your voices to be heard. We are conducting a Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey for students now through April 30th. For Mercy to help and support our students, we need to know what you experience and how you feel about these issues. We want to ensure that you know your rights and the resources available to you. Participating in the Climate Survey will provide Mercy with invaluable feedback to improve the lives of our students.
In the spirit of fostering awareness and prevention of sexual violence on college campuses, we ask students to participate in Take Back the Night on Thursday, April 27th. Please join us in the lecture hall lobby to tell your story, educate yourself on the cycle of violence, or simply show up to let us know that you will not tolerate violence of any kind on our campus.
Mercy College has many resources to support survivors of sexual violence. Our on-campus counseling center has trained mental health professionals experienced in providing counseling to sexual violence survivors. Our Title IX Coordinator handles investigations of incidents on and off-campus, and can assist survivors in finding appropriate off-campus support, including rape crisis centers and domestic violence care and services.
No survivor of sexual violence should ever feel alone or ever feel that it is their fault. Mercy College is here for you—we just need to hear from you.