Student leaders work for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
By Gracie Clough
TUSCALOOSA- One American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds.
That’s one statistic organizers of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, recognized during April, want to bring to the public’s attention. Women leaders are using their resources to share with other students on Alabama’s campus.
Baylee Clark, a graduate student at Alabama, decided last year to become a medical advocate through the Tuscaloosa SAFE Center.
“I’ve been volunteering with the SAFE center since it opened in 2018,” Clark said. “I think the biggest reason to educate yourself is to be an ally to survivors in your life because statistics show us that whether you know it or not someone in your life has experienced sexual assault.”
The University’s Panhellenic Association also created a new “Safe Sisters” program during the 2020-2021 school year. Each sorority on campus had two members volunteer to go through intensive training to provide their chapters education and awareness related to interpersonal violence. Maddo Adams, a Safe Sister, said she decided to apply for the position because she wanted people to feel less alone on campus.
“I think women, and men, on this campus need to know that this is a hometown issue because it is happening her on this campus,” Adams said. “This makes people feel less alone but also take this issue more seriously because it feels more personally to them.”
Other female members are preaching the importance of being informed on the effects of sexual assault and the importance of students at The University of Alabama being educated on the issues. Gabriella Murgo, a senior, said that she thinks the university needs to do a better job of educating students.
“I think that it is important for people to be educated through this month, and the rest of the year, because most people do not even know what to classify as sexual assault,” Murgo said. “It is also the fact that I know too many of my friends who have personally been affected by this issue.”
Clark said that when every student feels they have someone on campus to confide in, that is when the university will have done their part in educating the students.
“Since I’ve publicly shown support for survivors, I’ve had several people reach out to me because they know I’m a safe person to talk with that will be supportive and that’s something anyone can do to show their friends they care,” Clark said.
The Tuscaloosa SAFE center is open 24 hours a day with trained medical professionals to anyone who would need their services.