Sexual Violence Awareness Week kicks off

AwarenessSexual Violence Awareness Week began Sunday with the goal of “Creating a Campus that Cares.”

The week started with a kick-off rally and continues through Thursday.

The purpose of the week is to raise awareness, honor victims and educate people about prevention of violence and misconceptions about sexual assault, said Becky Michelsen, a health educator with Marquette’s Center for Health Education and Promotion.

Common misconceptions claim the way a person dresses or the time of night he or she goes out affect the likelihood of sexual assault, she said.

“You never know when (sexual violence) is going to affect you,” Michelsen said. “And it affects you every day whether you know it or not. It could be your roommate, your neighbor, your sister, an aunt or mom (who has been assaulted).”

This year’s keynote speaker is author and sexual violence expert Todd Denny, who will present “Sexual Aggression 101” Wednesday in the Weasler Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.

Denny will look at ways to reduce the risk of sexual assault and how to assist friends who appear to be at risk, Michelsen said. He has written a book about sexual assault and has done presentations at schools across the country.

He will also lead two workshops Thursday, one geared toward educating women about sexual assault and one aimed at teaching men how to prevent sexual assault.

Another program is “True Life…I’ve Been Sexually Assaulted,” which is part of a recurring “True Life” series that has been presented at Schroeder Residence Hall for several years, said Hall Director Nikki Krubsack.

The program will feature students’ firsthand accounts of sexual assault and educate attendants about campus resources related to sexual assault, she said.

“It brings a voice to that issue, makes those in attendance realize that sexual violence and sexual assault do happen, and they happen to students at Marquette,” Krubsack said.

That program is Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in the Schroeder Hall multi-purpose room.

The men of O’Donnell Hall began their seventh consecutive “Teeter-Totter Marathon” Sunday. As part of the marathon, the hall’s residents will teeter-totter non-stop for 72 hours.

The marathon will raise money for the Sojourner Truth House, said Ryan Jackson, a resident assistant in O’Donnell overseeing the Teeter-Totter Marathon.

The Sojourner Truth House is local charity that helps victims of sexual and domestic violence, said Jackson, a junior in the College of Communication.

The marathon is a way to help involve men into discussions of sexual violence, he said.

“Typically men are not the victims of sex violence. Rather, we’re the perpetrators,” Jackson said. “We wanted to teach the young men in our building how to be allies to those affected by violence.”

The teeter-totter will be under the Bridge Tuesday and will move to O’Donnell Hall after 7 p.m., he said.