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By BEN BRUHNKE beb0ll@latech



April is “National Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” and the Association for Women Students is hosting a month-long campaign of awareness called “Take Back the Night.”

In its second year, TBTN will involve several different events that will endorse awareness, recovery and tips against becoming a victim of sexual assault and domestic violence.

“Sexual assault and domestic violence are [things] that no one really wants to know about,” Katie Tyler, president of AWS and a graduate student of business administration, said.

“It’s kind of a scary topic to people, but people need to know that this is a real problem, not just here, but everywhere.”

Tyler said these issues are extremely important, not only for women, but for men as well.

“Sexual assault is a serious issue that men and women should be prepared for,” Tyler said. “We had a speaker here last year who [talked] about a guy who was sexually assaulted here at Tech. We want everyone to show up not just to be educated for their own protection, but for the protection of others. If you see someone being attacked, you should know how to properly respond.”

Jacqueline Thrash, a freshman elementary education major and TBTN publicity chairman, said one program for men is called “100 Men Strong.”

This program involves sending a letter to men around the campus and community and requesting them take a public stand against any type of sexual assault and/or domestic violence.

One of the main programs TBTN is sponsoring is called “Call to Protect.” This program is asking for people to donate old cellular phones that can be given to lower-income families for emergency use.

“People can donate all throughout the month,” Corinne Barnickel, an AWS member and a senior family and child studies major, said.

“We will have spots to drop phones off in Tolliver Hall and a drop box in the counseling center,” she said.

Barnickel said AWS is also starting “Black T-shirt Friday,” during which AWS members will wear black T-shirts symbolizing support for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. AWS is also requesting that Tech students wear a black T-shirt every Friday for this month as well.

Barnickel said she hopes this month will allow people to realize how serious sexual assault really is.

“Obviously violence is a very big part of everyday life,” Barnickel said.

“Unless people know someone who has been a victim, then most people generally don’t care. You don’t have to wait for someone to get hurt to take action. Our message is be aware and be prepared.”

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