PERU - “When one in five women, over the course of their lifetime, are going to be subjected to rape or attempted rape, and one in 38 men are going to be subject, at some point over their lifetime, to rape or attempted rape, it’s not over the top to bring awareness to it.”

Those were comments Wednesday from Dr. Susanne Williams on the Peru State College campus, where a month of events are planned for sexual assault awareness month.

In previous years, campus events were highlighted by a “walk in her shoes” event, but this year there are a thousand yards of teal ribbon, signs, art projects, clothesline display and walk around the quad.

 

 

Williams: “It’s a new way on campus that we are observing sexual assault awareness month.”

Williams: “We wanted to seriously make it stretched out over the entirety of April so that we could properly acknowledge the crisis of sexual assault and, by putting out things like the ribbons and the signage, it just opens up the opportunity for people to start talking.”

Activities include a documentary screening of “I Am Evidence,” a look at the backlog of untested rape kits in the United States, and guest nurses from CHI Health St. Mary's.

Williams: “We now have two sexual assault examiners at CHI Health St. Mary’s in Nebraska City, which means that victims of sexual violence can go to Nebraska City to get a rape test kit instead of having to drive to Omaha or Lincoln to get it. That’s a huge step forward for southeast Nebraska.”

There is also an art exhibit called “What Were You Wearing” that displays clothing worn by survivors and includes written reactions from Peru State students.

A theater performance of “Natural Shocks” is scheduled for campus next Tuesday. The clothesline Project invites messages of support or survivor accounts.

 

 Williams: “In going through that process it not only demonstrates the magnitude, the numbers of people who are affected by sexual violence, but it also gives survivors an opportunity to regain control, a sense of control and power in telling their own stories, if they choose to.”

They have also been wearing teal and sharing selfies on social media to show solidarity.