Peru, Nebraska – Throughout April, Peru State College engaged the campus community in a series of events and installations observing Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). A post-SAAM campus evaluation survey of students, faculty, and staff documents significant positive impact. One student wrote, “I was not aware of sexual assault before and I didn’t pay attention to it, but . . . I realized I should talk about it with my parents, sisters, and my family members.”

The survey (N=72) showed 92% participated in at least one SAAM activity or event.

As a result of the campus observation of SAAM, 62% were somewhat (36%) or absolutely (26%) more confident to talk to others about sexual assault. A third indicated they were already confident to talk to others about it.

Fifty-two percent engaged in at least one conversation about sexual assault because of the campus observation of SAAM, and 41% were made aware of the campus support resources for victims of sexual assault (52% said they were already aware).

Throughout April, more than 60 visited the sexual assault survivor art installation “What were you wearing?” in AV Larson Art Gallery at Peru State. The exhibit of clothing ensembles and stories of sexual assault survivors seeks to debunk the myth that a person’s clothing invites sexual assault.

A student wrote of his experience of the exhibit.

“I remember how shallow my breaths became, and how my sight started getting more and more distorted from the anger and tears. I know this was an exhibit and I am not a victim of such horrifying crimes, therefore the sight of this big dude crying was unwarranted. But I have had many friends who had gone through similar things. I could not help but think of them, and how alone they must have felt,” he said.

On April 20, 60 attended a panel discussion about sexual assault featuring Captain Jake Dilsaver of the Lincoln Police Department Special Victims Unit, and Jake Hedden, Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator at Lincoln’s Child Advocacy Center. The audience evaluation showed 100% of respondents said the event met or exceeded their expectations and 93% rated the discussion as immensely or very valuable.

“I originally came for extra credit, but I’m glad I now have the knowledge,” a student wrote.

Assistant State Attorney General George C. Welch and Anne Boatright, Nebraska Forensic Nursing Coordinator and Sexual Assault Payment Program Coordinator presented “Everything you need to know about sexual assault in Nebraska” on April 27. Fifty attended. The event evaluations showed 100% of participants thought the speakers explained the issue very well or extremely well.

Peru State College annually observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The 2022 planning committee included Alyse Foster, Student Senate President and Resident Assistant; Andrew Black Elk, Resident Assistant and Student Senate Senator-At-Large; Cory Moen, Director of Residence Life; Daniela Lagunas, Resident Assistant and Rotaract President; Eulanda Cade, Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator; Garrison Dodge, Peru Association of Student Athletes Football Representative; Kyle Pond, Associate Director of Athletics; Laura Lippman, Assistant Professor of Theater Arts; McKinley Cross, Peru Association of Student Athletes President, Bowling Team; Stephanie Huddle, Instructor of Criminal Justice; Susan Moore, Assistant Professor of Art; Susanne Williams, Retention Specialist and Title IX Designee, SAAM Committee Chair; and Ted L. Harshbarger, Interim Executive Director of the Peru State College Foundation.

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