One in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. Approximately 90 percent of these crimes go unreported.
Nearly 1 in 2 women, and 1 in 5 men, have experienced some type of sexual violence other than rape in their lives.
These statistics, compiled by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), show just how far reaching and indiscriminate sexual violence is within the United States.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) – a month devoted to raising awareness of sexual violence and how to prevent this crime. This year’s theme, “Engaging New Voices,” builds on the idea that we are stronger together, and that new organizations
and community members are needed to expand sexual assault prevention efforts.
In recognition of SAAM and to promote greater awareness of sexual violence and prevention in the community, Mt. Hood Community College will hold two events at the Gresham Campus. On Wednesday, April 26, at 6:15 p.m., MHCC students, staff, and faculty,
and the public, are invited to participate in a Take Back The Night silent march through campus. On Thursday, April 27, from 7 – 9 p.m., the college will host an encore performance of the PDX Contemporary Ballet’s “Formless,” which promotes female
empowerment, bystander intervention and self-defense.
NSVRC first began promoting SAAM in 2001. However, sexual assault awareness events and campaigns have a much longer history in the United States. For example, the Take Back The Night (TBTN) Foundation began organizing events in the 1960s focused on
creating safer communities and on ending sexual assault, abuse and other forms of sexual violence.
In 2016, MHCC held its first TBTN event: a 5K walk/run, held at the track, in which approximately 200 people attended. Grant Turner, the Director of Public Safety and Campus Sustainability for the MHCC’s Associated Student Government, helped organize
the event last year and this year.
“I liked the idea of making it into a march because it really shows a strong solidarity,” said Turner.
For Turner, the cause is personal. He has friends who have suffered sexual violence. And these efforts make up just a part of his mission to “become a better ally in support of women who have suffered from sexual violence.”
“Many victims see themselves as the ones to blame, and they don’t speak out,” he said. “I want to let women who have experienced sexual violence know that they should speak out, they should share what happened with law enforcement, so that the perpetrator
cannot victimize anyone else.”
Daryl Harrison-Carson, an instructor of theater design and technical direction at MHCC, helped bring the PDX Contemporary Ballet to the college. She first saw the ballet’s performance of “Formless” earlier this year. She liked the message of “Formless,”,
however, it was the unusual way that the ballet presented that message that really drew her in.
“It was the opening part of the ballet and that initial soundscape,” recalled Harrison, “in which the dancers are dancing to a recorded podcast in which men are told that they should encourage the women in their lives to arm themselves for better
protection. It was the combination of this really empowering dialogue and the athleticism and strength of these dancers on the stage.”
The Take Back The Night march at MHCC will begin at the Main Mall at exactly 6:30 p.m. The first 100 MHCC students to register for the event (http://bit.ly/2odvYhd) will receive free t-shirts. Participants can also buy t-shirts for $15.
The PDX Contemporary Ballet’s performance of “Formless” will take place in the MHCC main Theatre. MHCC’s Theatre Improve Troupe will open the performance, followed by a brief intermission before the ballet begins.
The silent march and theater performance are both free and open to the public.