The Student News Site of Baker University

The importance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

May 10, 2021

Though BRAVE operates Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it also serves a larger role in the Baker community. Among the members of BRAVE is Sophomore Micayla Houser, who serves as the secretary of the organization. Houser elaborated on the overarching role of BRAVE on campus.

“BRAVE is an organization that strives to dismantle all forms of injustice, such as white supremacy and rape culture. They’re all intersectional and all contribute to various forms of violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault. We’re here to create space for conversation and support those who need to be heard,” Houser said. 

Overall, SAAM was planned in conjunction with PACE and BRAVE and serves an important role in the Baker community. Houser elaborated on the purpose of the month and its events, stating that “the importance of SAAM lies in the fact that it exists entirely for survivors. It’s a space created specifically for those who have historically been overlooked, and, though the conversation shouldn’t be refined to one month, allows for one specific embodiment of injustice to be fought.”

Gadd-Nelson also offered clarity on the intentions and planning of the month, offering insight into the theme of the month and how it was decided upon.

“This year, we decided that, especially with this past year that we’ve had and how exhausted we’ve seen students to be, we would focus on our theme of Listen, Believe, Care,” Gadd-Nelson explained. “We picked that theme because April is a busy month for a lot of folks, so we wanted to be able to focus on those messages that encourage us to care for others and to care for ourselves.”

Though SAAM provides an opportunity for education and awareness surrounding sexual assault, Gadd-Nelson and Houser stressed that the key to change was that these conversations must be had and that they must occur throughout the year.

“Shying away from uncomfortable or difficult topics of conversation won’t make issues like this go away,” Houser emphasized.

Similarly, Gadd-Nelson expressed that “the biggest thing I’d want someone to actually learn from Sexual Assault Awareness Month is that we can’t just talk about sexual assault during the month of April. It’s something you have to be talking about throughout the year.”

She continued, stating, “I hope people learn that there are people on campus wanting to have this conversation, who want to prevent violence and make a difference, and that there are supports out there for survivors. Here at Baker, we believe survivors. We want survivors to get the care and healing that they deserve. We can work together to create those environments for people.”

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