Saint Martin’s hosts sixth annual Sexual Assault Awareness Week to end sexual violence in our communities

March 26, 2014

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LACEY, Wash. — At least one of every three women worldwide has been beaten, sexually assaulted or otherwise abused in her lifetime by a partner, relative, friend, stranger, employer and/or colleague, according to the Take Back the Night international program. Saint Martin’s University will issue its own call to action against these violent crimes during its sixth annual Sexual Assault Awareness Week, April 7- 11. The SAAM 2014 week will culminate Friday, April 11, with a unique event during which the audience can follow the stories of sexual assault survivors through an interactive activity and view a film that underscores the impact of sexual assault on a young survivor. All activities are free and open to the public.

“Every year, we try to incorporate new activities to encourage the entire Saint Martin’s and surrounding communities to adopt a pro-active, zero-tolerance culture so that we can one day eliminate these violent acts,” says Laurel Dube, director of Campus Life and the event organizer. “Also, for the second time, we are hosting the week’s popular Clothes Line Project in the afternoon and evening in order to more effectively involve our faculty, staff, students, alumni and neighboring community.”

The week’s activities will additionally include the annual Take Back the Night candlelight march, to be hosted Thursday, April 10, on the University’s Lacey campus.

The march is held at locations around the globe to demand the end of all forms of sexual violence. Bringing together survivors, their supporters and community members, Take Back the Night marches have empowered people of all ages, races, religions, backgrounds and genders to raise a collective voice against sexual assault for more than 30 years. The first documented Take Back the Night event in the U.S. occurred in October 1975, when citizens rallied in Philadelphia to protest the stabbing murder of Susan Alexander Speeth, a young microbiologist who was attacked as she was walking alone. The first international Take Back the Night took place in Belgium in March 1976 at The International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women. More than 2,000 women from 40 countries participated.

Emphasizing that the Saint Martin’s week of activities is not just for women, Dube strongly encourages men to participate in solidarity with all sexual assault survivors. “Men, of course, can be victims of sexual assault,” Dube says, “and we strongly encourage the men in our lives to demonstrate their love and support for everyone they treasure and would want to protect from sexual violence.”

More details of the events scheduled on campus throughout Sexual Assault Awareness Week are as follows:

  • Monday, April 7: The Clothesline Project, noon – 2 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m., in the Trautman Union Building (TUB): The Clothesline Project was established in 1990. Individuals affected by violence, or who know others who have experienced violence, are invited to express their feelings by decorating a shirt that will be displayed on campus as a testimony to the issue of sexual violence. Members of the Saint Martin’s University Counseling Center, Residence Life and Campus Life will host the event and will be available to speak with participants.
  • Wednesday, April 9: Self-protection and Awareness Class, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., in the TUB:Learn practical self-protection and awareness skills through this class, which is free and open to the Saint Martin’s community and members of the local community. The class will be instructed by Oak Tree Judo Sensei’s Jim Harai and Lopaka Los Banos.
  • Thursday, April 10: Stand in Solidarity campaign, all day:Men who plan to be on campus this day, including students, faculty, staff and members of the general public, will be invited to wear white and stand all day in a show of solidarity with male and female survivors of sexual assault. “It is so important for men to be part of this week and demonstrating their support of survivors in their community is one great way to be involved,” says Brittany Reed, assistant director of Campus Life. “We will provide stickers that read, ‘Ask me what I stand for’ and it’s our hope that this act will spark dialogue across campus about sexual assault.” Men who are interested in participating in this activity can contact Reed at 360-486-8877 or
  • Thursday, April 10: Take Back the Night candlelight march, 7:30 p.m., in the TUB:The march is open to all members of the Saint Martin’s University and Thurston County communities. It will begin in the TUB with a welcome from the university and members of SafePlace Olympia an advocacy agency and confidential shelter for survivors of domestic violence. “The message of the evening will be one of aiming to break the silence for victims of sexual assault and abuse, and striving to speak out and report instances of sexual violence to law enforcement authorities,” Dube says. The march will extend across campus; at the conclusion, participants will be invited back to the TUB for refreshments and a closing activity.
  • Friday, April 11: “Walk With Me: An Evening of Community Engagement,” 6 p.m., in the TUB:Saint Martin’s University and SafePlace are inviting attendees to walk through a choose-your-own-experience type of activity that focuses on the aftermath of sexual assault through descriptions of survivors’ encounters with helpful and harmful systems and people, including family members, friends, the legal system, police force, and medical and mental health services. There will also be a screening of the film, “Trust,” which tells the story of a young girl who is sexually assaulted by an older man she meets online. “Walk With Me” is a service learning event helmed by students in the Trauma and Recovery course taught by Tiffany M. Artime, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Saint Martin’s. Light refreshments will be available.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For additional information:

Laurel Dube
Director, Campus Life

Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media relations manager