MISSOULA – The Student Advocacy Resource Center at the University of Montana held several events during April to raise awareness of sexual assault and offer support to survivors.
The events, held in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Month, began with 14 bystander intervention training opportunities. SARC teaches UM students how to be “pro-social bystanders” – people who have the power to prevent sexual violence by learning about consent, sexual assault and how to safely intervene or get help. Students also learn about resources available to them such as SARC, which provides advocacy, counseling and referrals.
“These events and trainings are designed to highlight the importance of standing strong as a campus united against sexual violence. Each one of us can play an important role, both in ending sexual violence, and supporting survivors of sexual assault.” said Drew Colling, campus assault prevention coordinator and SARC director. “As part of promoting a safe campus, the University requires that all new students take an online tutorial about sexual assault. That has been in place since fall 2012. We also offer bystander intervention training to freshmen, and now we provide a refresher on bystander intervention to all our juniors on campus.”
This year, SARC has trained more than 1,200 students in bystander intervention through 50 trainings.
The second event SARC held in April was a poetry slam where student performers read poems in support of survivors of sexual assault.
SARC concluded its events by hosting an information booth on the Oval as well as displaying a Hope Quilt – an artistic patchwork with messages of support, hope and unity for those affected by sexual violence.
For more information on Sexual Assault Awareness Month at UM, call Colling at 406-243-5244 or email email@example.com.