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Sexual Assault Awareness Month



Help for sexual assault victims

Sexual assault on college campuses, including Portland State, often is underreported. At PSU - with more than 29,000 students - only two forcible sex offenses were reported in 2009. Yet national surveys, based on self reporting instead of crime reports, found that 3 percent of college women become victims of rape or attempted rape during an average nine-month academic year. To find help in preventing or responding to sexual assault at PSU, open this link.

Sexual assault is scary and uncomfortable, confusing and humiliating. Mostly, we think, it's a problem that other people have, the victims and the perpetrators, says PSU adjunct Prof. Eden Isenstein. That makes it easier for society to ignore.

Bringing sexual assault into the spotlight is the goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, a national campaign whose theme this year is to empower bystanders to step in.

Ignorance is harmful, especially on a college campus. If a woman says "no" 15 times, then finally relents, what does that mean? If a man strategizes how to get a girl so drunk she can't say yes or no, what do we call it?

"That's rape," says Isenstein, who teaches a senior capstone about sexual assault. "We don't call it that. We call it making a move, or having fun. Or college."

In part, that ambiguity accounts for the severe underreporting of sexual assault on college campuses. Changing the culture around sexual assault is one part of Isenstein's class, which addresses its complexities across genders and teaches skills to help bystanders step in.

Isenstein's senior capstone class
National Day of Action

When: April 5th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Tables at the ASRC, WRC, and between SMU and NH

What: Join the Healthy Campus Initiative in kicking off SAAM 2011. Stop by a table to pick up information on the month's events, decorate your own Action Flag, sign an Active Bystander pledge, and learn more ways to get involved.

Strike Out Sexism Bowling

When: April 7th from 5 to 6pm

Where: PSU Viking Gameroom

What: Join the WRC for this fun SAAM event. Put together a team or come join a team. Contribute a $5-$10 donation to show unity and support around SAAM. Bowling, raffle, educational materials, and fun.

"Framing Sexual Assault: The Public Health Model and Sexual Violence Prevention"

A facilitated discussion by Sandra Clark, M.P.H. and Torrie Bordokoff, M.P.H. Candidate

When: Friday, April 8th, 1 to 2 p.m.

Where: Urban Center Parsons Gallery, Room 212

What: Analyze how media framing of sexual violence influences solutions and our ideas about prevention as social change activists, public health workers, and community members.  Discuss the public health model approach to sexual violence prevention and how to mobilize communities.

Personal Safety Workshop

When: TBA

Where: TBA

What: Join PSU Athletics for an interactive Personal Safety Workshop taught by staff from Portland Police Bureau's WomenStrength Program.

Faculty Favorite Lecture Series: Professor Chris Carey

"Human Trafficking: The Challenge of the 21st Century"

When: April 21st from 1 to 3 p.m.

Where: The Women's Resource Center

What: Christopher Carey, PhD, JD, a former deputy district attorney and a current assistant professor in PSU's University Studies Program, will discuss the application of international law on human trafficking and human rights. An expert in human trafficking and intercultural communication and a former executive director of a U.S.-based international human rights organization, Carey helped open offices in Kathmandu, Nepal; Kolkata, India; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Mexico City, Mexico.

Take Back the Night/Bike Back the Night 2011

When: April 28th from 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: PSU South Park Blocks

What: Take Back the Night is a nationwide annual event centered on combating violence against all people. Co-hosted by the Women's Resource Center and the Portland Women's Crisis Line, this year's event includes inspirational speaker/author/survivor Loretta Stinson, music, education, and more.

Workshop: Love Your Body After Trauma

When: TBA

Where: TBA

What: The WRC's Love Your Body Action Team is facilitating a workshop on issues such as how trauma affects the body and ways to take care of your body after trauma.

Students who have experienced sexual assault or misconduct at PSU have multiple resources.

1) You can make a formal police report to Campus Police (503-725-4404) or to Portland Police Bureau (911 or 503-823-3333).

2) You can file a Student Code of Conduct complaint through the Office of Conduct and Community Standards.  For details on the Student Code of Conduct, visit or call 503-725-4422.

3) You can file an Anonymous Report with Campus Police.  If you include identifying information, they may take action on the report.  If no identifying information is available, the report will be recorded as part of the campus's crime statistics.

If you need to talk, contact…

The Women's Resource Center at or 503-725-5672.

The Portland Women's Crisis Line: a confidential, 24-hour service at 503-235-5333.

The PSU Student Health and Counseling Center, for fully confidential services, at 503-725-2800.

Off-campus counselors.  Any counselor that accepts Aetna will be covered by your student insurance.  For a complete listing of counselors who will take Aetna, visit SHAC or their Insurance Information page.

Student Legal Services, for confidential legal advice, at 503-725-4556.

Clergy and chaplains.