University of California campuses will hold panel discussions, rallies and other events throughout April to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The activities, part of UC’s ongoing efforts to address sexual violence on campuses, are aimed at educating students, faculty and staff about sexual violence and to highlight campus resources for prevention education and support.
Since last summer, UC has taken important steps to assess its existing policies and programs, identify areas for improvement and begin implementing a comprehensive, consistent approach to addressing sexual violence across its system.
“It’s critical that we have measures in place to effectively deal with sexual violence, and that we do everything we can to build a culture of trust, respect and safety on our campuses,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “The steps we are taking are all part of our goal to ensure UC is a welcoming and safe place for everyone.”
Panel discussions and talks in April will center on topics such as bystander intervention, consent, and how sexual violence impacts women, men and the LGBT community. Campuses are also planning Take Back the Night marches, the Clothesline Project with T-shirts designed by survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones, and Denim Day when people wear jeans as a symbol of protest against misconceptions around sexual assault.
In addition, campuses are providing opportunities for students, faculty and staff to meet their trained campus professionals who provide support, guidance and resources around sexual violence.
In June 2014, President Napolitano created a university-wide task force to evaluate UC’s policies and practices and offer recommendations about how the university can more effectively address sexual violence.
UC began implementing the task force’s recommendations in January, including creating a full-time, confidential advocate and support office on each campus and establishing a consistent and effective model for responding to sexual violence across the university system.
Additional recommendations will be implemented this July. These will include a comprehensive education and training program, setting unified investigation and adjudication standards and sanctions, and providing appropriate services to those responding to allegations.
More information about university resources and what UC is doing to address sexual violence is available on the university's systemwide website.