Penn State hosts Sexual Assault Awareness Month events in April

logo for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Credit: Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In an ongoing effort to bring greater awareness to sexual violence and child abuse, several Penn State events are being held during the month of April, which has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

At the University Park campus, there are numerous resources available to help victims of sexual assault, and at Penn State campuses and through services across Pennsylvania and nationwide, many resources are available to assist sexual violence victims. A detailed list of organizational contacts and online resources is available.

Following are some of the events held throughout April at Penn State campuses.

Penn State Altoona
Penn State Altoona will host two key events surrounding April's Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

-- On April 18, the Clothesline Project will be on display in the Slep Student Center all day. Students are invited to share stories of survival and hope and express their emotions related to sexual abuse/assault by decorating shirts that will be hung on the clothesline.

-- Take Back the Night also will be held on April 18, beginning at 4 p.m., also in the Slep Student Center. Cheryl Gonsman, Family Services Inc., will deliver the keynote address at 6 p.m., which will be followed by a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. A candlelight vigil around the pond will take place at 7:30 p.m. Take Back the Night aims to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence through awareness events and initiatives.

Penn State Beaver
Penn State Beaver students, the Voices Against Violence Committee, the Women’s Center of Beaver County and Pittsburgh Action Against Rape are sponsoring a series of programs on campus as part of Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Awareness Month.

-- A workshop, “Got Consent?” was held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday, April 1, in room 16, Student Union Building.

-- Throughout April, Beaver campus students also will conduct a series of “Got Consent?” programs and projects.

-- Penn State Beaver Police Services Officer Patrick Smith is presenting a Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) System Training session, 8-10 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, April 2 to 4, and Monday, April 8, in the Student Union Building Lodge. The event is open only to female campus community members.

-- The award-winning documentary, “Searching for Angela Shelton,” was presented at a public event at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 3, in the Student Union Building auditorium. The Women’s Center facilitated a post-screening discussion about the film. Learn more about the documentary at

-- As part of several faculty members’ spring courses, two programs will be held Friday, April 5, in room 16, Student Union Building. “Know Your Neighbor” will be presented at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and “The Children Are Watching” will be held at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

-- At noon on Wednesday, April 10, “The Bystander Effect” program will be presented in the Student Union Building auditorium. With the exception of “Searching for Angela Shelton,” these programs are open only to Beaver campus community members. For more information, contact the Office of Student Affairs at [email protected] or 724-773-3951.

Penn State Berks
Penn State Berks has made an ongoing commitment to raise awareness and to provide education about sexual assault and child abuse.

-- The Penn State Berks Feministic Club, a student organization, held a “Take Back the Night” event at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at the Franco Building outdoor amphitheater. This event included an address by Take Back the Night executive director Katherine Koestner, a rally, and a march on campus. Representatives from Berks Women in Crisis also attended.

-- The Penn State Berks Office of Health Services is collecting old cell phones to benefit Berks Women in Crisis during the month of April in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Berks Women in Crisis collects the phones and recycles them for a profit through a Florida organization called Shelter Alliance. The phones will be refurbished or responsibly recycled.

-- Berks Health Services produces a monthly show titled "Get Some," which deals with health with a human sexuality emphasis. The theme of February’s episode was sexual violence education, and this episode provided specific information on programs for students, including a discussion of sexual violence, consent, where to go for help after an attack, and how to file a police report after an incident occurs. The theme of the March episode was “OMG.GYT” (Get Yourself Tested). GYT ( is part of It's Your (Sex) Life, a public information partnership of MTV, Centers for Disease Control, Planned Parenthood and American College Health Association. These episodes can be viewed on YouTube at (Februay) and (March).

Penn State Harrisburg
-- Angela Rose, sexual assault and violence prevention expert, gave a presentation from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, in the Penn State Harrisburg Library’s Morrison Gallery. The event is free and open to the public. At the age of 17, Rose was abducted at knifepoint and assaulted by a repeat sex offender. Upon release, Rose contacted police who subjected her to additional victimization. The unjust experience motivated the young woman to work with her attacker’s other victims and community members to help enact Illinois’ Sexually Dangerous Persons Commitment Act in 1998, which requires psychiatric evaluation of persons identified as being of possible sexual danger. She also founded PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, an organization that educates and takes action against sexual violence, and Men Opposing Sexual Assault, a student group encouraging men to participate in the anti-sexual assault movement.

-- Also, Theresa Flores, human trafficking survivor, author, and victim’s advocate, will present “The Slave Across the Street” on campus Thursday, April 4. Two sessions will be offered: 11:50 a.m.-1:15 p.m. in the Library’s Morrison Gallery and 6-7:30 p.m. in the Capital Union Building (CUB) Student Center. The presentations are free and open to the public. Flores, a licensed social worker, is the founder of S.O.A.P. (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution), an outreach program that distributes thousands of bars of soap to hotels with information on incidences of youth prostitution, which often occur on hotel premises. The program’s goal is to raise awareness and offer solutions to the problem.

Penn State Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine
-- Clinical Professor Lucy Johnston-Walsh and Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed will present “The Role of Physicians in Recognizing and Reporting Child Sexual Abuse” on Thursday, April 4, to a group of approximately 125 resident physicians at Penn State Hershey.

-- The campus is facilitating the airing of 30-second child abuse public service announcement throughout the month of April. Nine stations in the regional media market that have agreed to air the announcements.

-- Informational tables are set up at various locations in the main hospital and Penn State Hershey throughout the month of April. Information on the Center for the Protection of Children, abuse prevention information and pinwheels will be distributed to visitors and staff.

-- Did you know the blue pinwheel is the symbol for the prevention of child abuse nationwide? Look for them on the Penn State Hershey campus throughout April, and for other Penn State initiatives to raise awareness of child abuse. Each floor of the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital will distribute Prevent Child Abuse Pinwheels throughout the month.

-- Physician Kent Hymel, of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, will discuss research findings relevant to detecting child abuse during a grand rounds presentation at 7:30 p.m. on April 23,  in the Junker Auditorium. All Penn State Hershey faculty, staff and students are invited for this presentation.

-- The Penn State Hershey Medical Center's Crescent will be lit in blue from April 16-20.

-- A coloring page was developed to use as a craft with children that are hospitalized and young siblings.

-- A month-long sale of T-shirts and blue lapel pins is being held to help raise awareness of and money for the Center for the Protection of Children. For additional information or to place an order for a pin or shirt, call or email Patricia Verdon, 717-531-5158 or [email protected].

Penn State Schuylkill
-- As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Penn State Schuylkill will presented a documentary film, "Until the Violence Stops," at noon on April 1 in The Health and Wellness Center.

-- In addition, Penn State Schuylkill presented a live performance of "The Vagina Monologues" at 7 p.m. on April 2. in the Hidden Stream Cafe. Proceeds from the ticket sales for both events,will go to Schuylkill Women in Crisis (SWIC.)

University Park campus and greater State College area
-- A PDF calendar of April events is available from University Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services and the Center for Women Students.

-- All month, blue ribbons (the symbol of Child Abuse Prevention) and teal ribbons (the symbol of Sexual Assault Awareness) are on display on trees outside of the Centre County Courthouse, signifying those who have received services University- and community-wide.

-- At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, in The Pasquerilla Spiritual Center’s Memorial Lounge, Penn State’s Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs and the Center for Women Students once again hosted a program to raise awareness about various forms of violence and the incredible journeys of survivors who find a way to move forward despite their pain and struggle. Now in its sixth year, this event, titled "Honoring Survival: Transforming the Spirit," honored the strength and resiliency of survivors of sexual, emotional and physical violence and those who support them in their healing process. The intention is to bring these issues to light, focus on the courage and tenacity of the survivors, and highlight Penn State’s resources for those who have been victims of violence

-- The week of April 6-12 has been named Sexual Violence Awareness Week on campus, with student-run activities scheduled.

-- On 2 p.m. April 6 both 4K and 6K runs, hosted by the Penn State student organization One Heart Campaign, begin at the Business Building lawn. For more information, visit

-- The Center for Women Students is once again sponsoring a free RAD self-defense class for women students, with 6-9 p.m. sessions on April 8, 10, 15, and 17. Students must preregister in the CWS office.

-- The screening of student documentary "Unreported" with a discussion panel, hosted by UPUA, will be held at 7 p.m. April 8 at 104 Thomas Building.

-- From 4 to 6 p.m. April 9 a Chipotle fundraiser will benefit CCWRC and 1in6.

-- An Expression and Healing Gallery will be held 7pm April 9 in room 107 Pasquerilla Spiritual Center.

-- The annual Take Back the Night event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, on the Old Main patio. This year's coordinating body is Lambda Theta Alpha. Speakers include Anne Ard, director of the Centre County Women's Resource Center (CCWRC), and Stacy Parks Miller, Centre County district attorney.

-- Men Against Violence will host the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes run from noon until 1 p.m. on April 11 beginning on the steps of Boucke Building. Walk a Mile is sponsored by the Center for Women Students and the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA).

-- At 5:30 p.m. April 11, Schlow Centre Region Library will host "Shining the Light on Violence Against Immigrant Women."

-- At 7 p.m. on April 11, a screening of "The Invisible War" will be held in 129 A and B in the HUB-Robeson Center, hosted by The Women’s Group.

-- A screening and discussion of "Boys & Men Healing" will be held 7-9 p.m. on April 11 at 113 Carnegie Building. For more information about the film, visit

-- "Rock Against Rape," a battle of the bands fundraiser for the Centre County Women's Resource Center and 1 in 6, will be held 3-7 p.m. April 12 on Heister Street, downtown State College. 

-- At 6:30 p.m. on April 15 in room 129 HUB-Robeson Center, the screening of "Spitting Game" followed by the "Conversations About Consent" panel and discussion will be held with representatives of University Police, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), CWS, the Centre County Women's Resource Center and the Office of Student Conduct. Refreshments including pizza will be offered.

-- University Health Services (UHS) is offering informational materials about sexual violence in the Student Health Center lobby during the month of April.

-- The "Painting for Prevention" mural will be at the Nittany Mall, State College, 20 a.m.-2 p.m. April 20, hosted by PA Family Support Alliance, Centre County Children and Youth Services and the Youth Service Bureau.

-- April 25-27 the CCWRC Bar Campaign tabling will be held at Indigo, downtown State College.

Penn College
Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities at Pennsylvania College of Technology include:

-- A passive display all month, Bush Campus Center lobby;

-- A display for The Clothesline Project April 8-12 in the Campus Center lobby and in the Madigan Library; and

-- A “Shout Out” against sexual assault event to be held Tuesday, April 23. The “Shout Out” will run from 5 to 7 p.m. in the lobby of Dauphin Hall, outside the Capitol Eatery. The event is presented in collaboration with the YWCA of Northcentral PA’s Wise Options program and is inspired by Project Unbreakable, founded by Grace Brown. Materials will be provided.