CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) fraternity chapter at the University of Northern Iowa is taking a stand against sexual assault. The chapter's philanthropy event is Sexual Assault Awareness Week (SAAW). The main focus of the week is to educate peers, professors and community members on how to watch for signs of sexual assault, along with prevention methods.
The fourth annual SAAW will be held from Monday, April 4 through Friday, April 8, and all of the money raised throughout the week will be donated to Cedar Valley Friends of the Family, a local domestic violence shelter.
"We all have women that we care about: mothers, sisters, girlfriends. As men, it's our duty to ensure that we are doing all that we can to ensure their safety and the safety of all women, especially on college campuses. For us, one sexual assault is too many and we won't stop until we've solved this problem," said Alex Stepanek, Sigma Phi Epsilon member.
Events throughout the week include:
- Monday, April 4, “See-SAAW,” SigEp brothers will ride a seesaw outside the Maucker Union for 24 hours, demonstrating sexual assault can happen anytime.
- At 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 5, Vanessa McNeal, UNI graduate student and survivor of sexual assault will be releasing her most recent film, "We the Survivors," that features the stories of eight other survivors of sexual violence. Following the film, McNeal will be joined by UNI survivor and victim advocates from Student Wellness Services and the Riverview Center for a panel discussion that focuses on ways to support, empower and encourage survivors.
- At 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 6, the Snag a SigEp date auction will take place in the Maucker Union.
- At 7 p.m., Thursday, April 7, a women's self defense class will be taught by university police officer Andrea Jennings. The class will feature education and self-defense techniques. A “Mentors in Violence Prevention” session will be facilitated by SigEp brothers to educate attendees on how to be active bystanders and do their part in preventing sexual assault.
- Friday, April 8, SigEp brothers will hand out cookies and informational pamphlets to thank individuals that participated in SAAW, while asking for donations for Cedar Valley Friends of the Family.
"I take part in raising awareness for sexual assault on our college campus because I have friends that are victims of sexual assault. When I see a UNI alert that there has been another sexual assault on campus, it tears me apart inside because I know that it can be prevented. I want to help lead the way with male leadership on college campuses to show students that they can make a difference in helping make campus safer and to show students they can make an impact that is sustainable and positive," said Jared Riter, SigEp chapter president.
For more information about SAAW week, visit uni.edu/mcleesc/wordpress or contact Justin Carlyle, SigEp Vice President of Programming, at firstname.lastname@example.org.