Wellness Center honors National Sexual Abuse Awareness Month

Libby Williams, News Editor

Shirts with messages of, “stop the abuse,” “never lose your voice,” “no means no, not maybe” and more hang above the SURC’s dining area. This is in honor of sexual assault victims for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The Wellness Center is spearheading events this month to raise awareness and encourage prevention against assault.

“It’s really unfortunately common in society,” said Katie Parks, the health promotion coordinator at the Wellness Center. “Research tells us that about one out of every six American women has been the victim of sexual assault in their lifetime, and so that means that most people know someone who has experienced sexual assault.”

Parks said there’s plenty of events and programs, starting with the t-shirts that will remain up all month.

“The shirts have messages of healing, hope and resilience,” Parks said. “That’s to let folks know that they’re not alone.”

An event in this series will be on April 26, called Show Up, Speak Out. The event will feature survivors speaking about their experiences. The second half of the event will feature clubs and organizations speaking and teaching about the issue, as well as crafts, music and food.

“The goal of the event is to show support for survivors,” Parks said. “[It’s] for the campus and the community to gather and to show their support.”

There are year-round resources for students, both in and out of the Wellness Center, according to Parks.

“Here at Central we have P.A.T.H., which stands for Prevention, Advocacy, Training and Healing, and that’s located in the Wellness Center,” Parks said. “That is open to anyone who has personally experienced violence, knows someone … who’s experienced violence and looking for support.” 

There is a local resource called Aspen, located on Fourth Street in Ellensburg, according to Parks. They offer a “safe space for individuals who are survivors of violent crime, sexual assault or domestic violence to come and receive services,” according to their website. 

There are also national resources like RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Parks said she believes that programming like this on campuses and in communities is helping prevent future abuse.

“I have heard a lot of positive feedback about the clothesline project specifically and how it’s helped people become more aware of these issues,” Parks said. “Having it right there in the SURC, front and center, does bring awareness.”