By Amanda Edwards
In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Office of Counseling and Student Success presented a number of events between Thursday, April 12 and Wednesday, April 25, to raise awareness with the proceedings supported by the student clubs active minds, gender club, and LGBTQ+ club.
The events were Teal Day, Spin The Wheel of Fact VS. Fiction, “No more” Campaign, and “Denim Day.”
These events were collectively designed, according to a release by the Office of Counseling and Student Success to “raise visibility, encourage conversation, and help break the social stigma surrounding sexual assault and violence.”
Kaitlin Dias, counselor at CCM, was one of the key organizers of the events.
“It affects us more than we know,” Dias said.
In fact, statistics from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, (RAINN) state, “Every year, there are approximately 237,868 victims of sexual assault; 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men in the U.S. will be a victim of sexual assault.”
Dias said that while this topic may make some people feel uncomfortable, students should access the counseling center’s services when necessary.
“This topic could be very triggering for those who are victims of sexual assault,” Dias said. “I understand that. Nevertheless, I strongly encourage all students to visit the Office of Student Services and Counselling, whether it is they themselves who need help, or they’re worried about a friend. Even if it was a case from before you attended CCM, I advise you to come. You are not alone, and we will support you in a non-judgemental way. This is also an opportunity to use your voice to prevent this from occurring again.”
At “Teal Day,” active minds president Stephanie Camacho related the purpose of the awareness campaign to the club’s mission to encourage mental health.
“Active Minds is keen on spreading awareness because we know that sexual harassment affects mental health,” Camacho said.
Also, as she encouraged students to sign the “No more” pledge, Active Minds Volunteer Allison Bratsch told the participants :“It’s okay not to be okay. Be strong.”
Vice president of Active Minds Raven Resch said she has struggled with a number of mental illnesses in the past.
“During those times I felt so isolated because no one wanted to be associated with the girl with the psychiatric problem,” Resch said. “It was hard, but I’ve recovered since then because of time social workers and psychologists have spent with me. Sometimes, it’s not the person that has the problem, but its trauma from the environment and I want to break the shame that the victim feels. I am passionate about spreading awareness about sexual assaults because I know what mental illnesses can do to someone’s life. Those times were difficult, but I also wouldn’t change any of my flaws. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without those experiences, so I encourage others to seek help.”
Dias advises students who need help to call the National Sexual Assault Hotline to be connected to a trained staff member in their area. Their contact number is
Counselors are available from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in SCC 118. Students can also reach the Office of Counseling and Student Success by calling 973-328-5140, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”