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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

During April, ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support), The Margaret Sloss Women’s Center, and a number of Iowa State University departments and student organizations will be joining with people throughout the state and the nation to increase the public’s attention on Sexual Assault. This is an opportunity to highlight the efforts of individuals and agencies that provide rape crisis intervention and prevention services while offering support to sexual assault survivors, victims and their families. This year’s theme is “Preventing Sexual Violence on College Campuses.”

Sexual violence is a crime of epidemic proportions. It affects everyone. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (

  • Every 2 minutes someone is sexual assaulted in the US.
  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted.
  • College age women are 4 times more likely to be sexually assaulted.
  • In 2007, there were 248,300 victims of sexual assault.
  • 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.

SAAM raises awareness of sexual violence through special events while highlighting sexual violence as a major public health issue and reinforces the need for prevention efforts.  Local activities to raise awareness of sexual violence include:

“Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Film Showing

Friday, April 1, Sloss House, 2 – 5 p.m.\

Join us at the Sloss House to watch “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and discuss plot points as well as ways we can work to end sexual violence.

Get a Magnet off an ISU PD Vehicle

Monday, April 4, 12:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., South Lawn of Parks Library

Friday, April 8, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Fire Station 2 Welch Ave.

Stop by to peel a magnet or two off an ISU PD vehicle as a reminder to get a yes and of local resources.

Teal Ribbon Distribution

Monday, April 11, Memorial Union booth, 11 – 2 p.m.

Wednesday, April 13, Memorial Union booth, 11 – 2 p.m.

Vagina Warriors will be distributing ribbons. Stop by, take one, and show your support to stop sexual violence on our campus.

T-shirt Designing for The Clothesline Project

Thursday, April 14, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Sloss House

Design t-shirts that will be displayed in the Clothesline Project, that address the issue of sexual violence to educate the public.

The Clothesline Project

Thursday, April 14, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., West Lawn of the Sloss House
The Clothesline Project is a visual display of t-shirts addressing the issue of violence against women. T-shirts have been designed by survivors and families/friends of survivors. The project focuses on providing healing for survivors of violence, educating the public about issues of violence, and encouraging individual action to prevent violence. Participants will have the opportunity to create a shirt of their own during the event at the Sloss House.

These Hands Don’t Hurt

Thursday, April 14, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., West Lawn of the Sloss House

This is a visual support of non-violence by imprinting your hand on a large canvas representing your commitment to not commit acts of violence against others. Make the pledge to end violence against men, women, and children. The completed banner will represent the people who are supporting the movement against violence. Coordinated by Alpha Kappa Lambda.

Rice Krispie Treat® Bake Sale

Thursday, April 14, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., West Lawn of the Sloss House

Alpha Kappa Lambda will be selling Rice Krispie Treats®. All sales will be donated to ACCESS.

“heARTs for Art” Exhibition

Saturday, April 16, Ames Public Library

Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support invites crime survivors to participate in the “heARTs for art” exhibitition on April 16, 2011 at the Ames Public Library.

SAAM on Display

Monday, April 18 – Friday, April 22, Memorial Union Display Case

Find more information on the events, read about how sexual assault impacts our community, and where to find local resources at the Memorial Union display case.

Self-Defense Workshop

Monday, April 18, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.,
The Hapkido Club will teach lessons on how to avoid hazardous situations and what to do if you can’t. The lessons are very interactive. Students will leave the event with an understanding of basic self-defense techniques.

Take Time on Tuesday: Sexist Comments to Sexual Assault

Tuesday, April 19, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., Sloss House

Sexist Comments to Sexual Assault: How we can make a difference in violence against women. Violence against women impacts us all. Though it can be an intimidating topic, change can start with the “small” stuff. We’ll be discussing ways that we can step-in and speak-out against violence against women in all its forms. Additionally, we’ll share resources and ideas about how to provide support to a friend who has been sexually assaulted and/or who is at-risk in a violent relationship.

Take Back the Night Rally & March

Wednesday, April 20, Rally beginning at 6:00 p.m., Iowa State Memorial Union West Terrace

March beginning at approximately 6:45 p.m., Around campus and campustown

Take Back the Night is an internationally recognized event with rich history, occurring worldwide since the 1970’s. The annual Take Back the Night rally and march at Iowa State University is organized with the purpose of unifying women, men, and children in an awareness of violence against women, children and families. You are invited to join us at the rally and march to take a stand against violence and make the night safe for everyone.

Take Back the Night: Taking the Stage to Reflect and Express Open Mic

Wednesday, April 20, Open Mic begins at 7:30 p.m., UDCC Room 136

To celebrate taking back the night we are hosting an open mic event for the community to share stories, poems, and music.

Asian Pacific American Film Showing: Struggles with Sexual Assault

Thursday, April 21, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa is sponsoring a film and discussion that touch on the topic of the struggles with sexual assault within the Asian Pacific American community.

For more information on Sexual Assault Awareness Month, contact the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center at 515/294-4154 between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, confidential help through Sexual Assault Support Services,  is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week at 515-29-ALERT (515-292-5378).

Events are supported by the Sexual Misconduct Education Committee: Alpha Kappa Lambda, ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support), Department of Residence, Greek Affairs, ISU Department of Public Safety, Margaret Sloss Women’s Center, Sexual Assault Response Team, Student Counseling Services and Students 2 Students


The Earthquake Aftermath: Haiti

The story of the women of Haiti is one filled with heartbreak.  These women no longer have homes or support systems and face assaults on a regular basis.  Because of the horrific experiences these women have had to endure, Eve Ensler has chosen Haiti as the spotlight campaign for The Vagina Monologues ({2011}).

Please consider showing your support by attending the show in the M-Shop (February 10th @ 5:30p, February 11th @ 6 and 9p), purchasing a chocolate vagina (for sale in the Sloss House), or making an outright donation to our campaign.

10% of all funds will benefit the women of Haiti.  The remaining 90% will be donated to ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support) so they can continue to provide invaluable services to the survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Here is more information about the services offered by ACCESS:

All services provided by ACCESS are free and confidential.  To learn more about their services or to set up an appointment with an advocate, call (515) 292-5378.

  • 24-hour Crisis Line: Listening, support, information and advocacy
  • Shelter: Safe, temporary housing for women and their children.
  • Children’s Programs: Counseling, advocacy, outings, and play groups.
  • Individual Counseling: Short-term counseling to adult survivors of child sexual abuse, sexual assault, or domestic violence or dating violence.
  • Support Groups: Support groups for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and children who have experienced or witnessed family violence.
  • Advocacy: Support, information and referrals for clients working with the legal, medical, or social service systems.
  • Community Education: Educational programming to schools, community groups, organizations and agencies.
  • Crisis Response Services
  • SART (Story County Sexual Assault Response Team): Crisis support and on-going advocacy.
  • Call 29-ALERT (292-5378) to speak with an ACCESS volunteer about your options.

Please contact the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center with any questions about the V-Day Campaign. 515-294-4154 or

The Vagina Monologues!

Well friends, we are officially in V-Season!  The Iowa State ({2011}) V-Day campaign to end violence against women is in full swing.  For those of you unfamiliar with The Vagina Monologues, do we have a treat for you!

Here’s a sneak peak from the playwright herself, Eve Ensler:

Since 1996, The Vagina Monologues have been shocking and delighting audiences across the globe.  The Vagina Warriors at Iowa State are proud to perform this year’s show.  For the past month, we have been talking about vaginas, creating paper vaginas, selling chocolate vaginas, and rehearsing monologues about vaginas.  Through the sisterhood of the cast, we are excited to bring you a show that not only promises to entertain, but raises awareness about the very serious topic of domestic and sexual violence.

The mission of the V-Day campaign is at the heart of each Vagina Warriors:

V-Day is an organized response against violence toward women.

V-Day is a vision: We see a world where women live safely and freely.

V-Day is a demand: Rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery must end now.

V-Day is a spirit: We believe women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities.

V-Day is a catalyst: By raising money and consciousness, it will unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts. Triggering far-reaching awareness, it will lay the groundwork for new educational, protective, and legislative endeavors throughout the world.

V-Day is a process: We will work as long as it takes. We will not stop until the violence stops.

V-Day is a day. We proclaim Valentine’s Day as V-Day, to celebrate women and end the violence.

V-Day is a fierce, wild, unstoppable movement and community. Join us!

Performances in the Memorial Union Maintenance Shop:

Thursday, February 10th @ 5:30pm – Join us for a brief discussion after the show to learn how you can work to end violence throughout the year.

Friday, February 11th @ 6:00pm – We are proud to provide American Sign Language interpreters at this show!

Friday, February 11th @ 9:00pm

Tickets are on sale at the M-Shop.  Students pay $12 with an ISU i.d. and community members pay $15.  Chocolate vaginas will be available for purchase at all shows.  Visit us in the West Student Office Space booth on Monday, January 31; Tuesday, February 1; Thursday, February 10; and Friday, February 11 to purchase “I Respect Vaginas” t-shirts and chocolates.

All proceeds from the show go to benefit the Ames Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS).  Last year we were able to raise $5,000.  Help us surpass that this year!

Questions? Contact Liz Steinborn at the MSWC:

Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa

Monsoon was founded in August 2003 as a culturally specific Asian organization, serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and conducting community awareness activities and prevention work

Monsoon-United Asian Women of Iowa is committed to helping families of Asian descent in Iowa. The organization’s long-term mission is to eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault by promoting the social, economic, and political self-determination of all women.

Monsoon upholds every person’s right to live in a home and society that is free of violence and sexual coercion. Its specific focus is to address the cultural and language needs of immigrant, refugee and U.S.-born Asian women and their children.

Many Asian women living in Iowa face special challenges because of the cultural isolation, language barriers and the widely dispersed community in rural and urban areas.

Monsoon will function as a resource, advocate and support for Asian women, children and families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

For more information about Monsoon, visit


Hi my name is Thao Pham and I am currently a sophomore at ISU. I am working as a Peer-To-Peer Advocate and Outreach intern for Monsoon. I helped facilitate a discussion entitled “Intersections of Identity: Race, Sexuality, and Safety” two weeks ago with the help of the lovely and amazing Sloss Women’s Center staff.  My boss Mira Yusef (director of Monsoon) has truly been a great help in allowing me to do work in my areas of interest and helping me in any form that she can. The focus of the dialogue was on partner violence among queer women of color.  After hosting the dialogue, I reflected a bit about the topic. After hearing everyone’s comments, it furthered the notion even more that dating violence among queer people, nevertheless queer women of color are indeed very invisible. I had several people come up to me after the discussion to tell me that they never really thought about the queer community when they thought about domestic violence and sexual assault.

As an openly gay Vietnamese American woman of color, I’ve been interested in the topic of dating violence among queer women of color because of the different issues regarding intersections of identities that are present. A significant root of the issue is the heterosexism that is prevalent among our society. Why do we only see heterosexual males as the batterers and weakened heterosexual females as the victims or survivors? Why do the terms “survivor” “domestic violence” and “batterer” automatically assume gender roles? Another significant factor to input is race. Specific race/ethnicity(s) and cultures often don’t get linked to the terms sexual assault and domestic violence. I know that for Asian and Pacific Islanders, domestic violence and sexual assault isn’t generally thought of because of the stereotypes that exist that Asians are passive and quiet people. In reality, many incidents go unreported because of various barriers that hinder individuals from reporting any act of violence. These are important things to think about.

Another important issue to bring up is the media exposure of queer partner violence. It’s barely visible. Among the few media portrayals are scenes in the L Word, Noah’s Arc, and Boys Don’t Cry. Even with those portrayals, they are predominantly white and upper-class individuals. They are not exactly accurate or represent a diversity of communities. Even with issues of domestic violence and sexual assault, the hierarchy of privilege plays a significant role.

From personal experiences, I’ve had difficulty reporting incidents regarding bullying, harassment, sexual assault, and abuse because of my queer, gender, and cultural identities. Fear of community judgment and disclosing my sexual orientation were always huge barriers. I was already out to my family, but my family wasn’t ready for me to be out to the bigger community.”Saving face” and preserving honor among my family were values instilled in me at an early age. Because of my race and sexual orientation, I didn’t know how reporting incidents of same-sex partner violence would be received by anyone of a higher authority who may not be as sensitive to dealing with queer partner violence.

With Stalking Awareness month and Sexual Assault awareness month coming up within the next few months, more dialogue about these issues are increasingly important.

So this concludes my blog post for today….more will come later!!


Thao Pham

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