The Center for Student Wellness (CSW) and Bennion Center have partnered to host a fund drive to raise money for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Funds will go towards the creation of victim-survivor care packages created by three Bennion Center Scholars Niyera Nyandagaro, Meg Grimshaw and Glen Levinzon.
The care packages were created for survivors of interpersonal violence who are supported by the Victim-Survivor Advocates (VSAs) in the CSW. These three students have diligently planned and connected with multiple campus partners to collect their support, some initial supplies and notes of support and solidarity for each care package.
Each package will include items that may help ground a survivor: a blanket, essential oils, chocolate, a fidget toy and a supportive note from a community member. Donations are suggested following four tiers:
- Tier 1 - $3 – Pays for chocolate and essential oil
- Tier 2 - $10 – Pays for blanket
- Tier 3 - $15 – Pays for blanket and fidget toy
- Tier 4 - $20 – Pays for the entire package
Campus community members can also support the endeavors of these students and so many more by tuning into their takeover of the university’s Instagram account on April 5. Nyandagaro, Grimshaw and Levinzon will explain the project they have been working on as well as other upcoming events.
Of course, there is much more work that needs to be done to prevent sexual assault, but promoting awareness, solidarity and support is a worthwhile effort.
If you would like to write messages in person, the Bennion Scholars will be hosting a tabling event at Kahlert Village 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, April 9, 2021. Writing supplies, hand sanitizer and PPE will be provided.
From our perspective:
In numerous cases we see that this COVID-19 pandemic has made existing problems much worse and amplified them. We may not experience everyone’s problems firsthand, but we should have some understanding and compassion because we have all faced and have some challenges that impact our lives today. I regret not knowing that April was the month of sexual assault awareness prior to joining this project. But now that I’m aware of it, I hope that I can help by spreading more awareness to support all survivors on campus. I want to let them know that they are not alone and there is a big community that has their back.
I decided to partake in this project because of my passion for advocating for those affected by interpersonal violence. Between personal experiences, my own sexuality and work with the LGBTQ+ community, I am able to connect several aspects of myself to this project, while also being aware of the viewpoints and opinions of others. I also feel a sense of connection to the people we will be giving these care packages to, which has made it easier to consistently put forth effort and quality work. I want all people who have experienced any kind of harassment or assault know that the ways in which they cope with trauma, interact with the world and express themselves, is valid and inherently resilient.
Personally, I decided to participate in this project because of how important it is to raise awareness to this issue. Sexual assault awareness is a subject that I do not think is given the attention it so rightly deserves. Especially in our community. I believe that participating in this project will allow the opportunity to bring more attention to this issue on our campus and the greater community. Sexual assault awareness should be given the utmost priority.
I have friends who have experienced sexual assault in the past, but the effects remain to this day. When I heard about my friends’ experiences, feelings of sadness and shock affected me. Later, I realized I can help victim-survivors who have experienced this. This project provided me an opportunity to help and I am grateful. I hope that this small contribution can help victims and prevent assaults in the future.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, CSW’s Victim-Survivor Advocates have been unable to meet with clients in person. This project allows us to provide comfort in a safe way through care packages.
Thank you for your support of #UofUSAAM2021! Follow along on social media @uofuwellness or with the following hashtags #UofUSAAM, #UListentoSurvivors.