On Thursday, the HUB-Robeson Center was the site of Penn State’s first RAINN Day 2012, an annual event that seeks to stop sexual violence and promote awareness.
RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, is the largest organization dedicated to stopping sexual violence in the United States, according to the organization’s website.
RAINN Day is an event that specifically targets college students. The event focuses on making students aware of the potential for sexual violence, as well as providing students with resources located on campus. Adopt a School , an on-campus club, sponsored the event. Several members were on hand to get the student body involved.
Amanda Ervin (junior-early childhood and adolescent education), the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon Chair for Adopt a School, said the president of the group introduced the idea to the members, and she was immediately interested.
The event is especially meaningful in light of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case, she said. Last year’s events inspired Ervin to get involved and learn more about sexual violence.
Ervin said that as she becomes more informed about sexual violence, she hopes to make her fellow students aware of the issue.
Erin Yevins (sophomore-early childhood and adolescent education) echoed Ervin’s sentiments. When the idea to host RAINN Day was introduced at a meeting, Yevins was immediately interested.
Yevins said the event is especially important in light of the national attention Penn State has garnered in recent months.
“Penn State got a bad reputation for what happened last year. We kind of wanted to say that that’s not who we are or what we do here,” she said.
Yevins also stressed the importance of promoting on-campus resources. She said that before RAINN Day, she did not know about resources available at Penn State.
Yevins said she hopes that RAINN Day will open the eyes of students to the possibility and dangers of sexual assault. She also said she hopes students will now know what to do if they or a friend is sexually assaulted.
Erwin and Yevins stationed themselves inside the HUB and asked fellow students to sign a banner where students could pledge to stop sexual violence. They also gave students cards with information on preventing sexual assault, what to do in the event of a sexual assault and phone numbers for both on-campus and local resources.
Many students took the time to sign the pledge and learn more about sexual violence. Michael Proscia (sophomore-mechanical engineering) was especially interested in the event. He said that he was happy to sign the pledge and will definitely support RAINN Day in the future.
Proscia said that, prior to signing the pledge, he did not know much about RAINN or its mission. However, he was interested to learn about the organization.
“When I get back to my dorm, I’m probably going to look it up and see what it’s all about,” he said.
Other students shared similar feelings. Ja Ashia Page (junior-kinesiology) said that while she was aware of sexual violence, she did not have much previous knowledge.
By signing the banner, she wanted show her fellow students that sexual violence was not just something on television. Page wanted her fellow students to know that sexual violence was a real occurrence.