Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s office proclaimed April 11 Sexual Assault Awareness Day, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Tamiara Wade announced Wednesday.
The inaugural Sexual Assault Awareness Day was hosted by We’re Committed at 12:30 p.m. in the Red River Room in the Student Union. The month of April is already dedicated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“This is another step in the fight against sexual violence, and I’m happy to be part of a university that doesn’t sweep difficult issues under the rug,” said previous We’re Committed director Camille Faircloth. “LSU is continuing to create an environment that doesn’t tolerate sexual violence.”
LSU Student Government and We’re Committed petitioned the mayor’s office to dedicate April 11 as Sexual Assault Awareness Day, according to Manship student senator Frederick Bell.*
Bell said Middleton Library will feature a wall for Speak Up LSU where survivors are encouraged to post their testimonies and will also feature a support wall.
“Today, although a small step, is a large step for us not only in the city, but throughout the state,” said We’re Committed director Courtney Reeder. “We’d like to continue to make strides to end sexual violence on campus, in the state and in the nation.
Director of the Women’s Center Summer Steib said to continue making a safe community, she hopes to create better active bystanders and build bridges between community and campus organizations working to raise awareness and help survivors.
Steib said she hopes the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and April 11 as Sexual Assault Awareness Day encourages people to dedicate time to spreading awareness about this issue and reflecting on its impact in the community year round.
“This is something that impacts all of us 365 days each year,” Steib said.
Councilwoman Tara Wicker discussed the importance of young people’s involvement and activism in this issue.
“We recognize that not only should this be a day, but as well as mentally every day, this should be a part of our dialogue,” Wicker said.
Assistant director of wellness and health promotion Susan Bareis discussed the role of the Lighthouse Program on the University’s campus and the support it offers to survivors of sexual violence.
Among those in attendance were representatives from Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response, the Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office, Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault and other community and campus officials.
*Editor's Note: Frederick Bell is a former columnist for The Daily Reveille.