Sexual Assault Awareness Month Programming Announced

Gwen O’Brien 
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
(574) 284-4579

April 17, 2012 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—In recognition of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) at Saint Mary’s, a women’s college, invites the public to participate in events intended to educate and empower young people. College-aged women and high school seniors may benefit the most from the programming, which includes the annual Take Back the Night march on Thursday, April 19 and a presentation titled “Beat the Blame Game” on Tuesday, April 24.

“Saint Mary’s College is committed to reducing the incidence and impact of violence and abuse,” said Connie Adams, assistant director of BAVO. “Educational and prevention programming remains a core component to comprehensively address these issues. BAVO hopes community members welcome the opportunity to attend one or all of our spring events open to the public.”

National statistics indicate that college-aged women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted; one out of every six women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime; and 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. Victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression; 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol; and 26 times more likely to abuse drugs. In addition, one in every six women in the United States experience stalking in their lifetime and more than half of female stalking survivors have experienced stalking before the age of 25 (Sources: Rape, Abuse & Incest Network; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report).

Summary of Upcoming Events:

Thursday, April 19: Take Back the Night. The Saint Mary’s College Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) and the University of Notre Dame Gender Relations Center (GRC) will co-sponsor Take Back the Night (TBTN). The purpose of TBTN is to break the silence surrounding sexual violence with voices of prayer, chanting, and the sharing of stories. Though intended for Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students, the event is open to the public. The media may cover everything but the Speak Out, in order to respect the privacy of those who intend to share their personal stories.

  • 7 p.m. Kick Off - Lake Marian, Saint Mary’s College
  • 7:30 p.m. Candlelight Vigil - Grotto, University of Notre Dame
  • 8 p.m. March – University of Notre Dame
  • 8:30 p.m. Speak Out and Bonfire - Holy Cross Hill, University of Notre Dame (not open to media)

“Take Back the Night allows men and women to stand in solidarity with survivors of rape and sexual assault and show a commitment to preventing this violence from happening in our community,” explained Adams.

Tuesday, April 24: Beat the Blame Game. This interactive presentation by Catharsis Productions helps the audience better recognize forms of sexual violence and discover ways to promote a violence-free community. Audience members will learn how to use humor to respond to victim-blaming statements and jokes. This presentation will take place at 7 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium, Madeleva Hall.

About the Bells Against Violence Office (BAVO)*: BAVO was established in the fall of 2010 after the College received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to initiate an on-campus program that addresses and educates students on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. BAVO offers programming that ranges from support services, to self-defense classes, to speakers and programs on power-based personal violence, criminal justice and victim advocacy.

*This program is supported by Grant No. 2009-WA-AX-0002 awarded by The Office of Violence Against Women, United States Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary’s College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2012 published by U.S.News and World Report. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.