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University of Iowa News Release

 

April 1, 2010

RVAP promotes ‘Consent is Sexy!’ campaign during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Getting affirmative consent before engaging in sexual activity is essential to a healthy, respectful and legal relationship.

To help reinforce this message, the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) is participating in the University of Iowa’s “Consent is Sexy!” campaign during April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).

“Communities that understand sexual assault and its effects can support victims and survivors and combat the crime,” according to Kristin Dawson, RVAP education coordinator.

RVAP staff members encourage UI and local community members to promote awareness and public education about sexual assault during the month of April and throughout the year.

The campaign, which consists of a six-foot banner labeled “Consent is Sexy! Do you Ask? YES” will travel with RVAP staff and local volunteers to various locations. Students and community members will be invited to place a neon pink sticker on the “YES” part of the banner, which means they agree to ask their partner for consent every time before engaging in sexual activity. Pictures of the campaign will be displayed on the RVAP Web site this summer.

“The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about sexual rights and gaining affirmative consent,” said Karla Miller, RVAP executive director. The UI wants students to know about the affirmative consent policy and learn how to ask for consent, Miller added.

“Consent is all about communication,” Miller said. “Consent is clear, active, informed, freely decided, respecting boundaries, and asking every time. The idea is to make consent sexy because, ultimately, it is.”

The banner will appear at the following locations: Old Capitol Town Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 13; at Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City campus, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 15; and at Burge Marketplace from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 28. Students and community members will sign a pledge agreeing to ask their partners for consent every time. When people vote “Yes” for consent, they will receive a free “Consent is Sexy” magnet and enter a drawing to win prizes.

The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence -- focusing on sexual assault and rape -- and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.

“From awareness to actions, we connect to make our communities safer year-round,” Miller said. “We also honor the courage and healing of sexual assault victim and survivors. Their strength makes us stronger, and we assure they won’t be alone.”

According to national statistics, one in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. From July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009, there were 43 rapes reported that are known to be UI related (out of a total of 279 rapes) -– down from 49 UI-related rapes the previous year; and 69 total crisis calls known to be UI related (out of a total of 666 crisis calls) reported to RVAP's 24-hour rape crisis line, down from 79 calls known to be UI-related, also from the previous year.

In addition to the “Consent is Sexy!” campaign, major events include:

--“Cup of Prevention” (throughout the entire month): Visit participating coffee shops.

--“Prom Promise” (throughout the entire month): Visit participating floral shops.

--Wings of Healing, 2:30 p.m., Sunday, April 25, Old Brick, corner of Clinton and Market Streets.

--The “Clothesline Project”, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 27, on the UI Pentacrest.

--Take Back the Night Rally, gather at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 29, on the UI Pentacrest lawn.

For more information on Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities and events and RVAP services and resources, visit: http://www.rvap.org/pages/sexual_assault_awareness_month/#saam_2010, http://www.rvap.org or http://www.uiowa.edu/~rvap/.

All events are free and open to the public. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in any program, contact the RVAP office in advance at 319-335-6001. For more information, see http://www.uiowa.edu/~pubsfty/sareport.htm.

The sites provide information about statistics, education, victim services and resources. The 24-hour Rape Crisis Line number is 319-335-6000 or 800-228-1625.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Kristin Dawson, RVAP, 319-335-6001, prevention-education-rvap@uiowa.edu; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 384-0077, lois-gray@uiowa.edu