Every 2.5 minutes, somewhere in America, another victim is sexually assaulted, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Eighty percent of sexual assault victims are under the age of 30putting college students at especially high risk, statistics indicate.

To raise awareness, share information and help prevent sexual assaults, WVU s University Health Service will be hosting a Sexual Assault Awareness Week April 2-5.

Events during the week include: The Date Rape Drug Forum, an open forum that will inform, discuss and answer questions about date rape drugs and sexual assault;North Country,a 2005 movie staring Charlize Theron, based on the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States;Welcome to the Party,a 2006 WVU original movie that addresses sexual assault, binge drinking and drug abuse; andTake Back the Night,a march and rally sponsored by WVU ’s Female Equality Movement (FEM) to bring attention to violence against women.

The march will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 5, on the Mountainlair Plaza. Activist Carrie Ross-Stone is scheduled to speak.

The community needs to know that 85 percent of victims know their attacker and one-third of the attacks happen in the victim’s home, Strouse said.

It increases vulnerability to believe in myths like assaults are only committed by middle-aged people or that it only happens in mall parking lots,said Deb Strouse, WVU sexual assault prevention educator.

Lauren Wallace, FEM president, said she wants students to learn how to be safe at parties and during the walk home at the end of the night.Being able to recognize unhealthy relationships before trouble starts can save lives,she said.

Two powerful visuals during the week should draw attention to the message.

The Clothesline Project begins Tuesday (April 3) and will display T-shirts with powerful messages that have been made by sexual assault victims.

The Ribbon Project, on Thursday (April 5) will use ribbons tied on the bushes outside of the Mountainlair to represent assault victims. Pink ribbons represent assaults within the last 24 hours, red within the last week, white within the last month and teal within the last year.

If theres one thing I hope students learn from these events, its to reduce alcohol and drug use. Stay with friends for backup support and look out for each other. Lets reduce the numbers and make sure the attack doesn’t happen,Strouse said.

Sexual Assault Awareness Week events are scheduled as follows:

Monday, April 2

  • Information Booth: 10 a.m.3 p.m., Mountainlair. Information on sexual assault, sexual harassment, date rape drugs, healthy relationships, among other related topics. Professionals available to answer questions and assist students.
  • Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: 12 p.m.3 p.m., MountainlairBoard game based on the best selling book by John Gray. Provides interactive way to learn about the opposite sex. Open to students.
  • Date Rape Drug Forum: 7 p.m., Shenandoah Room, MountainlairDeb Strouse, WVU Sexual Assault Prevention Educator, Missy Pforr, WVU Alcohol and Drug Health Specialist, Theresa Hedrick, Therapist from Valley Mental Health, and an officer from the Department of Public Safety will participate in the forum.

Tuesday, April 3

  • Information Booth: 10 a.m.3 p.m., Mountainlair.
  • Clothesline Project: MountainlairT-shirts made by victims will be displayed on the staircase of the Mountainlair. Powerful way for victims, friends and family to express themselves. Sponsored by the Sexual Assault Prevention Education Office and the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center of Morgantown.
  • Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: 12 p.m.-3 p.m., Mountainlair.
  • North Country, 2 p.m., Gluck Theater2005 Movie staring Charlize Theron, based on the first major successful sexual harassment case in the U.S., Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the 1984 landmark lawsuit. Open to the public, admission is free.

Wednesday, April 4

  • Information Booth: 10 a.m.3 p.m., Mountainlair.
  • Clothesline Project: Mountainlair.
  • Welcome to the Party2 p.m., Gluck Theater2006 original movie created by WVU students, Jerry McGonigal and Tom Nicholson. Addresses sexual assault, binge drinking and drug abuse. Everyone is welcome and admission is free.

Thursday, April 5

  • Ribbon Project: MountainlairRibbons will be tied on bushes outside the �€~Lair to represent victims. Pink represents assaults within the last 24 hours, red within the last week, white within the last month and teal within the last year.
  • Information Booth: 10 a.m.3 p.m., Mountainlair.
  • Clothesline Project: Mountainlair.
  • Take Back the Night6 p.m., Mountainlair PlazaMarch and rally to reflect on the issue of violence against women and the toll it has taken on millions of lives. Sponsored by FEM . Deb Strouse, Ruth Kershner, Health and Sciences Faculty and Carrie Ross-Stone, an activist will speak.

For more information about these events or WVU ’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Education program, contact Strouse at 304-293-1377 or dstrouse@wvu.edu .