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University of Iowa News Release

 

April 1, 2011

RVAP promotes 'Live Free' campaign during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) at the University of Iowa hopes to raise public awareness and educate the community on preventing sexual violence during April, nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year's theme is "Live Free, a life on campus free from violence."

As part of the month, Susan Carbon, director of the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence against Women and a judge, will discuss "Sexual Assault: Changing the Landscape" at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Senate Chamber at the Old Capitol Museum on the UI Pentacrest.

Throughout April, Carbon will address sexual assault on college campuses. A special recognition ceremony will also be held as part of the April 7 event, honoring youth from Mid-Prairie Middle School in Kalona who participated in a public service announcement video designed by RVAP.  Doors will open at 6 p.m. for viewing a portion of the Clothesline Project.

"We're glad that Judge Carbon will come to our campus to help raise awareness about this serious issue because there are still so many myths about sexual assault," said Kristin Dawson, RVAP education coordinator.  "It's important that everyone understand that it is not the victim's fault." 

RVAP staff members encourage UI and local community members to be aware of and learn about sexual assault, especially during the month of April but also throughout the year.

From July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010 there were 75 UI-related crisis calls reported to RVAP's 24-hour Rape Crisis Line. Of those calls, 29 were reported rapes.

"The best way for us to be free from violence is to watch each others's backs," said Karla Miller, RVAP executive director. "If your friends are being targeted or need your help, get them out or get them help."

During April, the "Live Free" campaign will be launched throughout Iowa City, including at UI Burge Residence Hall on Wednesday, April 6, UI Hillcrest Residence Hall on Wednesday, April 13 and the Iowa City campus of Kirkwood Community College on Tuesday, April 19.

Students are encouraged to stop by the "Live Free" displays to sign the Bystander Pledge and play Jeopardy for a chance to win "Live Free" giveaways, while supplies last. The campaign highlights steps for taking action, speaking out and getting involved in making the campus and community free from interpersonal violence.

In addition to the "Live Free" campaign, other events include the following:

--"Antenna Topper Campaign Against Sexual Assault" (throughout entire month). Join law enforcement in displaying a teal ribbon antenna topper on cars to show support. Ribbons will be available at "Live Free" events and at the RVAP office, 332 S. Linn St., Suite 100, in Iowa City. 

CANCELLED, due to weather--"Clothesline Project," Tuesday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., UI Pentacrest lawn. View a display of T-shirts created by victims/survivors or loved ones of sexual assault, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, hate crimes and homicide.

-- "Take Back the Night," Thursday, April 28, at 7 p.m., on the UI Pentacrest lawn. A rally and march will take place supporting survivors of sex-related crimes and symbolically making the night safer for women and other marginalized groups.

For more information and a complete list of Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities, visit, http://www.rvap.org/pages/sexual_assault_awareness_month/#saam_2011 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. For more information or special accommodations, contact the RVAP office in advance at 319-335-6001. 

The 24-hour Rape Crisis Line number is 319-335-6000 or the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline at 800-228-1625. RVAP is a full sexual assault victim services center offering information and free, confidential counseling, advocacy and support to victims/survivors of sexual assault and harassment, stalking, and dating violence and their partners, friends and family members.

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, 319-384-0077, lois-gray@uiowa.edu, Writer: Tiffany Hung