As part of The University of Toledo’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness about sexual violence, UT is marking Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April with a series of events across campus to help educate students on prevention.
Those include self-defense training, a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, and a lecture by rape survivor and author Liz Seccuro.Seccuro, a victim’s advocate and the author of “Crash Into Me: A Survivor’s Search for Justice,” was gang-raped in 1984 during her freshman year at the University of Virginia. Seccuro will speak at UT Wednesday, April 19, at 6 p.m. in Doermann Theater.
“This is a story of how a victim has endured the most horrible of acts, was re-victimized, and found the strength to embark on a journey of healing and victim advocacy,” said Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, associate professor of criminal justice and director of the UT Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness. “I cannot think of a better story of empowerment for our campus and community. We are thankful to the YWCA Hope Center for co-sponsoring this event with the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness and the UT Office of Marketing and Communications. I encourage everyone to come and hear Liz Seccuro’s message.”
UT sorority Alpha Chi Omega also is hosting a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event called #RedShoeChallenge Tuesday, April 18, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Centennial Mall.
During the event, which is sponsored by the UT Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness, men will be challenged by a colleague or friend to walk a mile in high heels. It costs $5 to challenge and sponsor a man on campus. All proceeds go to the Bethany House in Toledo.
“This is an important event for men to stand up and say no more to the sexualized violence against women and support Bethany House, a local women’s shelter,” Tucker-Gail said. “For $5, women can challenge a colleague, friend or faculty member to participate. I hope that we can support victims and promote healing as a community. Look out men of UT, you are about to be a part of #RedShoeChallenge!”
The UT Police Department will hold three self-defense classes for UT students during the month: Saturday, April 1, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Thompson Student Union Room 1512; Thursday, April 6, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Honors Academic Village; and Monday, April 17, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Horton International House Multipurpose Room.
The UT Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program also is hosting a series of events, including:
• Monday, April 3 — T-shirt making for the Clothesline Project, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Rocket Hall Room 1619. Women affected by violence and their family and friends can express themselves by creating T-shirts as part of their healing process. The shirts will be displayed as part of the Clothesline Project as testimony to the problem of violence against women. A counselor from the UT Counseling Center will be present to facilitate the process. The UT Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness is a co-sponsor.
• Saturday, April 8 — Take Back the Night, 6 to 10 p.m., Woodward High School, 701 E. Central Ave. The event that protests all forms of violence against women includes a resource fair at 6 p.m., rally at 7 p.m., women’s march at 8 p.m., men’s event 8 p.m. and women’s speakout at 9 p.m. UT sponsors are the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women; Social Work Program; Student Social Work Organization; University Counseling Center; UT Feminist Alliance; Women’s and Gender Studies Department; and the Women’s Law Student Association.
• Tuesday, April 11 — Speaker: Lizbeth Meredith, author of “Pieces of Me,” 6 p.m., Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women, Tucker Hall Room 0168. She will discuss how her daughters were kidnapped by their father and taken to Greece and her struggle to get them back.
• Wednesday, April 12 — The Clothesline Project, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Centennial Mall (rain location: Thompson Student Union Trimble Lounge). View shirts created by women affected by violence and their family and friends. T-shirt colors show the form of abuse: white for those who died because of violence; yellow and beige for battered and assaulted women; red, pink and orange for survivors of rape and sexual assault; blue and green for survivors of incest and sexual abuse; purple for those who were attacked because of their sexual orientation; and black for women attacked for political reasons.
• Monday through Wednesday, April 17-19 — Red flag event, Centennial Mall. Red flags will be displayed to represent the 316 individuals who reported rape in the city of Toledo in 2016.
• Tuesday, April 18 — Screening of “I Am Jane Doe” and panel discussion, 6 p.m., Doermann Theater. Panelists will be UT President Sharon L. Gaber, Sen. Rob Portman and Dr. Celia Williamson, UT professor of social work and director of the UT Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute. Reception will be at 6 p.m., discussion at 6:30 p.m. and screening at 7 p.m.
• Wednesday, April 26 — Denim Day. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to wear jeans to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault. Stop by the Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program’s information table in the Thompson Student Union from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to learn more about Denim Day. The UT Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness and the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women are co-sponsors.