Pitt announces Sexual Violence Awareness Month

By Elizabeth Lepro / Assistant News Editor

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In the wake of a national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses, Pitt announced today that November will be “Sexual Violence Awareness Month.”

The University has announced the month will feature a series of six events aimed at educating the campus community on sexual violence, relationship violence, sexual harassment and stalking. Pitt’s Title IX office coordinated the month, according to Shawn Ahearn, director of Student Affairs.

The month will kick off with a lecture, “Affective Atmospheres and Domestic Violence,” by Lucas Gottzén of Stockholm University’s Department of Child and Youth Studies 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, in room 1228 of the Cathedral of Learning.

As part of the “It’s On Us” campaign, Pitt will also make Nov. 8-13, the “‘It’s On Us’ National Week of Action” and will release a full sexual assault PSA featuring students from groups including Student Government Board, Greek Life and the athletics department.

The “It’s On Us” campaign is a national endeavor the White House launched in September of last year to address sexual assault on college campuses. Pitt was among more than 200 universities and colleges across the United States that joined the campaign.

On Nov. 17, the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and Pitt’s Office of Affirmative Action, Diversity and Inclusion will host a training session on domestic violence for faculty and staff. Other lectures during the week include a Nov. 14, screening of “The Invisible War,” a 2012 documentary about sexual assault in the military.

The University released the AAU sexual assault survey results detailing the prevalence of sexual violence incidents on campus in September. Almost 12 percent of female undergraduates and 3.4 percent of male undergraduates who participated in the survey were victims of nonconsensual penetration or sexual touching.

In response to these numbers, University spokesperson Ken Service said, “We have to change the culture of this institution.”

“Any one incident of that sort is one more than we should have,” Service said.

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