Psi Chi hosts sexual assault awareness event

Julia Sprowls

In light of April being sexual assault awareness month, Kent State’s psychology fraternity Psi Chi hosted its fourth annual S.A.R.A. Speaks event Wednesday evening. S.A.R.A. Speaks is an event held for sexual assault and rape awareness.

Karly Huml, junior psychology major, is the Psi Chi secretary and Townhall II advocate who organized this year’s event. There was an admission fee of $5 that went to Townhall II and The Women’s Center on campus. They also accepted packages of new women’s underwear, which Huml said would go to The Women’s Center and then be given to emergency rooms that offer rape kits.

“A lot of times when girls go in for rape kits, they have to leave their underwear there and end up leaving without any or they have to wear disposable, paper ones, and they’re degrading and just not comfortable,” Huml said.

Huml invited Jennifer O’Connell from The Women’s Center SRVSS (Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services) office to speak at the event. O’Connell spoke about what the center and her office specifically do, its upcoming events, and a question and answer session. O’Connell said her office typically goes by SRVSS without putting “women’s” before it because they want to emphasize that it is open to everyone.

According to a January New York Times article by Jackie Calmes, President Obama put pressure on colleges and universities “to prevent and police sexual assaults on their campuses.”

O’Connell said 3.5 percent of college women are sexually assaulted in an academic year, and that awareness of the cause is being spread by all kinds of people in a great many areas.

“When you think about Kent State, that’s about 400 women on Kent’s campus,” O’Connell said. “And that’s just the women. This is happening to men too.”

Aside from O’Connell, the event also had a sexual assault awareness Jeopardy game, puzzles, and coloring. When put together, the puzzles were sexual assault awareness advertisements that participants glued together and planned to hang around campus. Participants were also asked to color and make other sexual assault awareness ads with statistics on them that would also be hung in buildings on campus.

Senior psychology major Ashley Haladay said the function made talking about the touchy subject easier. 

“There were some depressing statistics,” she said. “But the event made us more comfortable to talk about the delicate issues.”

Mary Kitson, junior psychology major, said the event was informative in a creative way. 

O’Connell said her office provides a resource for students who are coping with any kind of trauma. She also said she refers students to Townhall II and their helpline when she can’t be around.

Contact the Townhall II Helpline at 330-678-4357. For more information on The Women’s Center or Townhall II, visit their facebook page and website

Contact Julia Sprowls at [email protected].