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National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the University of West Florida hosts Take Back the Night on Wednesday, April 4 at 5:30 p.m. Take Back the Night is an international event hosted to educate, protest and bring awareness to ending sexual violence toward women.

The 2012 event begins with a march from Martin Hall to the University Commons, followed by an event for students featuring presentations from a variety of performers.

This event is only part of the University’s efforts to raise awareness and educate the campus about sexual assault and prevention.

“One in four college women will experience an attempted or a completed sexual assault,” said Mica Harrell, associate director of wellness services at UWF. “It’s not just a women’s issue; it’s everyone’s issue. This event and others like it on campus help unify both men and women in ending sexual violence.”

UWF students begin the dialogue regarding sexual assault awareness and prevention in orientation as freshmen. Counseling & Wellness Services representatives discuss issues of consent, bystander intervention and supporting or trusting friends who have survived sexual assault.

“We have implemented a new program engaging our male students, called Men for Violence Prevention or MVP,” said Lindsey Greeson, health promotion services coordinator. “The focus will be on utilizing positive, traditional male qualities to encourage natural bystander intervention if they see something happening among friends or fellow students.”

Students seeking resources following an assault can contact Counseling & Wellness Services at 850-474-2420 during business hours, or in an emergency, call the Rape Crisis Hotline at 850-474-RAPE (7273).