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Take action to end sexual violence

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year’s theme is “Building Connected Communities.”

The Center for Campus Wellness (CCW) is excited to share the upcoming events and ways to be involved in uplifting this year’s campaign in alignment with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC).

For 23 years the NSVRC has led a national awareness campaign throughout April focusing on the impact of sexual assault.

As the home of the University of Utah’s Victim Survivor Advocacy program the Center for Campus Wellness spearheads the campaign annually by hosting several opportunities to take action toward ending sexual violence in our community.

According to NSVRC sexual violence is an umbrella term that includes any type of unwanted sexual contact—including sexual assault, harassment and abuse.

Statistics show

  • Most women and men across all sexual identities who experienced contact sexual violence reported that the person who harmed them was someone they knew (Chen, et al., 2023).
  • Over 53% of women and over 29% of men reported experiencing contact sexual violence  (Chen, et al., 2023).
  • 1 in 5 male victims reported only male perpetrators, 1 in 2 had only female perpetrators, and about 1 in 6 had both male and female perpetrators  (Chen, et al., 2023).
  • 1 in 3 Hispanic women (34.8%) reported unwanted sexual contact in their lifetime (Basile et al., 2022).
  • 9% of adults with intellectual disabilities have experienced sexual violence (Tomsa et al., 2021).
  • 47% of all transgender people have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives (James et al., 2016).

Advocates as champions of connection

Safety, healing and well-being are at the heart of our work at the Center for Campus Wellness.

As a comprehensive wellness office, we provide programs and services at the individual, group, and campus levels that help our community take action to thrive holistically. The CCW is the primary host of peer wellness coaching and navigation, educational wellness workshops, and free and confidential professional Victim Survivor Advocates* who help folks restore well-being after experiencing various forms of violence.

We asked our team to share their reactions to this year’s theme, and how they feel about being champions for violence prevention on campus.

Lou V., a Victim-Survivor Advocate with CCW, felt a deep appreciation for the theme saying, “Finding and building support systems are invaluable in healing.”

Lou is no stranger to making connections for campus safety. As a Victim Survivor Advocate (VSA), they frequently navigate structural barriers and accessibility issues to curate support plans for their clients. The VSA program is one of few resources accessible to any member of the campus community – students, staff and faculty – who have experienced various types of violence.

They also shared the many ways VSAs act as campus connection champions through their support services.

“As advocates,” they continued, “we provide services such as safety planning, secondary survivor support services, facilitate emotional and psychoeducational workshops, academic and employment accommodations assistance, referrals to local resources and institutional reporting and investigation support.”

Our Victim-Survivor Advocates provide free, confidential, and trauma-informed support services to any campus community member (staff, faculty, student) who has experienced relationship, sexual, or family violence or abuse; stalking; discrimination or harassment; or trafficking. Our VSA team helps clients navigate resources and processes available for their personalized pathway for healing and justice. If you’d like to request a confidential consultation, please email Learn more about the VSA’s here.”

Take action this April

This year’s theme – Building Connected Communities – invites us to become a connected community that “look[s] out for one another and make[s] choices to promote health, safety, and well-being.” A community exists all around us. From our classrooms, neighborhoods, dorms, majors, departments, campuses and even our online spaces—anytime we gather, we form a community.

We encourage the campus community to explore how beliefs, choices, and actions impact one another. As the month begins, take a moment to reflect:

  • What does safety feel like to you?
  • How can you use your voice to encourage connection and safety on campus?
  • Where do you feel the most belonging in your life?

During the week of April 15-19, we will be hosting five activities where you can learn how to take steps to build connected communities and enhance your knowledge of sexual assault, harassment and abuse.

SAAM Resource Bingo | April 15-19

Expand your knowledge of the services available by reading the SAAM Resource Guide and participating in the SAAM Bingo activity for students to learn about these resources by visiting campus resources. Students who complete their bingo cards will be entered to win a grand prize!

“Solidari-TEA”| April 15 | 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Union, Parlor B

Join the CCW’s Victim-Survivor Advocates for their end-of-semester gathering to decompress and build community. Open to those who have experienced relationship or sexual violence and allies who are interested in creating a community for survivors on campus.

Building Healthy Communities | April 15-19
Union lobby

Stop by the Union lobby during SAAM week to learn how you can be a part of creating a healthier and more supportive anti-violence community. Learn about resources and create a friendship bracelet.

“In Our Shoes” | April 18 | 12-4 p.m.
University Campus Store

“In Our Shoes” is a community educational experience that examines the nuanced decisions and resources available to survivors. Several academic departments are offering extra credit for their students to participate. Registration is required. Click here to register.

Supporting Survivors Fund Drive | All of April

Throughout April, any donations to CCW will be directed specifically to survivor-centered programs. Click here to give today.