The Violence Awareness and Response Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato in collaboration with the Fraternity and Sorority Life on campus organized the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention program Tuesday. The event took place in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. Members from fraternities and sororities gathered to raise awareness and partake in discussions around topics pertaining to sexual assault and violence.
The event incorporated numerous engaging activities. Members collaboratively participated in these activities that aimed to help students’ consciousness around the meaning of consent and discussed tactics to prevent assault scenarios from unfolding.
One of the main highlights of the night was the “In Her Shoes” activity. The activity was a scenario-based experience where members, divided into small groups, walked through different sexual assault scenarios that were based on real-life experiences of teens. Members essentially walked through storylines by creating their own paths and predicted how the victim would have potentially handled the situation.
“We are using the activity to bring awareness to survivor stories because they are real experiences. The main point is that it lets people put themselves into the victims’ shoes and understand their pain on a different personal level,” added Molly Nhean, a junior at MSU and the current president of Gamma Phi Beta. “It’s a great activity to open your eyes and really understand and listen to true survivor stories in a more engaging way.”
The activity encouraged members to view unfolding sexual assault situations from the perspective of the victims themselves and understand how they can use those scenarios to help people currently in unhealthy relationships as well as gain some insight on how to be in healthy relationships themselves.
Following the conclusion of the “In Her Shoes activity” the attendees participated in a game of Kahoot where they tested their knowledge about sexual assault while learning more about available resources and prevention strategies.
Shadow Rolan, the interim director of VARP, was also in attendance. Rolan is an advocate for sexual assault here on campus.
“Not everyone knows what sexual assault looks like. They think it’s the societal definition of it where you have to say no or fight off your assailant and have bruises and be the perfect victim, but really it happens in so many different ways,” added Rolan, when explaining the need for sparking discussions on sexual assault and raising awareness about its prevention. “Sexual assault is like a taboo, we all know it happens, but people shy away from these discussions. I believe it’s important to bring awareness and educate students on this so they can know what sexual assault really means since it’s a broad umbrella term.”
To further educate the campus community and raise awareness about sexual assault, VARP will also be hosting a “Take Back the Night” event on April 27. The event is a way of giving voices to victims and survivors of sexual assault and standing in solidarity with them. Denim day will also be celebrated on the same day. Participants are encouraged to wear jeans to show support for rape victims.
Header Photo: Fraternity and Sorority Life partners with the Violence Awareness and Response Program to educate students on sexual assault prevention. (Emily Lansman/The Reporter)
Write to Hafsa Peerzada at Syedahafsa.Peerzada@mnsu.edu