Baylee Martin | Staff Writer
This month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and Duquesne will be taking all of April to educate the community on the realities of sexual assault and violence, while providing resources for students aimed at preventing and eliminating this overarching issue.
The university’s Students Against Sexual Violence (SASV) organization has been combating and raising awareness concerning the issue of sexual assault within their three main areas of outreach: activism and action, advocacy and awareness, according to SASV Vice President Deidra Hubay.
“It is our mission to promote ideas of safe and inclusion in campus practices, support and empower survivors of sexual assault, bring awareness to students, faculty, staff and other campus members through activism in action,” Hubay said. “We partner with outside community organizations such as the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) to help us, and the Title IX coordinator provides necessary resources for support and recovery after trauma.”
Vanessa Llewellyn, the President of SASV, said that actions being taken by SASV include “Round Table Talks” as an open forum for students to end the shame-stigma, hosting a clothing drive for PAAR and “Denim Day” on April 28.
Sexual assault and violence are no stranger to college campuses across the nation, and Duquesne is no exception. Each week of April, new topics and programs have been presented to students with important resources that can be accessed with both in-person and online options.
Beginning the week of March 29, the Title IX team has been highlighting a different topic concerning sexual assault over the month’s five-week time span. Week one (March 29-April 2) focused on resources and reporting options from Title IX Coordinator and Director of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Alicia Simpson. Simpson spoke on Monday, March 29 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the Union Fountain. Any violations to the university’s TAP No. 61 Interim Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment and non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct under TAP 31 can be reported to Simpson at (412) 396-2560 or by her email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the University’s Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Anonymous Reporting Form.
Week two (April 5–April 9) involved bystander intervention to teach students about “recognizing a potentially harmful situation or interaction and choosing to respond in a way that could positively influence the outcome,” according to the office of Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response. On April 6 at 8 p.m., Pittsburgh Action Against Rape hosted a virtual bystander intervention workshop via Zoom to help the university convey this message.
This week (April 12–16) marks the third week of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, with the main focus being consent.
Next week (April 19–23) will focus on healthy relationships and online safety, and the final week (April 26–30) will wrap up the entire month with resources and ways to continue learning.
Although Hubay said that Duquesne’s efforts have put the university at the lowest rates of sexual violence out of any major Pittsburgh university, Lleweyllen acknowledges there is still work to be done.
“Duquesne has a zero-tolerance policy for plagiarism, which means if you’re found guilty of it, you’re gone, no questions asked,” Lleweyllen said. “We do not have this in place for rape. To say that we don’t have zero tolerance for rape is to say that we have some amount of tolerance for rape. And that’s not okay with us here at SASV.”
Any students interested in joining SASV or are in need of resources can send a request on CampusLink or email Vanessa or Deidra at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.