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March 29, 2012

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab




SRU sponsors ‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University will mark April as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” with eight separate programs under a “It’s time…to talk about it! – Connect. Respect. Prevent Sexual Violence” theme.

            The program includes a proclamation signed by Charles Curry, acting president, and calling on the University community to increase its awareness of the violence associated with sexual assault and what can be done to lessen the problem and support survivors. The proclamation adds, “Slippery Rock University joins anti-sexual violence advocates and support service programs in the belief that all community members must be part of the solution to end sexual violence.”

            All programs are at 12:30 p.m.

Events open April 3 with a “We Make a Difference, So Can You!” presentation by SRU students in 105 Vincent.

Jennifer Sanftner, professor of psychology, will address “Sexual Violence, Body Image and Self-esteem” April 5 in Room 205 of the University Union. The talk will explain how the experience of sexual trauma is different for everyone. For some it leads to feelings of shame, self-objectification and body dissatisfaction that can lead to binge eating and self-starvation, Sanftner said.

Patrick Beswick, associate director of residence life, will discuss “Sexual Violence in the LGBT Community” April 10 in Room 205 of the University Union. “It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of people in the United States identify as gay or lesbian and according to research reports and approximately 31 percent of lesbians and 12 percent of gay men have experienced rape,” Beswick said. He will discuss how to help a friend who may have undergone such an experience.

Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will stage a  “Sexual Violence and Race Demonstration” at the SGA Pavilion April 12.

“Fostering a Culture of Respect,” led by Jessamine Montero, senior officer for diversity and inclusion in the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, will be presented April 17 in the University Union. The program will address the cultural framework that helps keep the five faces of oppression in place and what can be done to change the course to create a culture free from violence.

 Courtney Riffer, with the Butler VOICe program, and Justin Vallorani, a psychology major from New Kensington, will present “The Good Guys: Men Doing Anti-Violence Work” April 19 in the University Union. The presentation will deal with how sexual violence affects everyone and how men can speak out and take prevention steps.

Kayla Hersperger, artist illustrator in Enrollment Services, will present “Constructing the Roethlisberger Rape Narrative” April 24 in the University Union. She will discuss findings and implications of her empirical research project on the topic.

Bonnie Siple and Scott Zema, both assistant professors of exercise and rehabilitative science, will present “Sexual Harassment and Violence in Athletics,” including a review of the ongoing Pennsylvania State University child abuse sex scandal and what happens when athletes experience sexual violence.

The SRU Women’s Center and VOICe program are sponsoring the events.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.