Here’s How You Can Get Involved with Events Marking Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April

From Green Dot bystander intervention training to Denim Day to Take Back the Night, April brings together organizations from across campus to show solidarity in taking a stand against sexual violence.

by Steven Boyd Saum, Office of Marketing & Communications | April 14, 2024

April 2024 marks the official 23rd anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) commemorates the month by spotlighting a campaign for “Building Connected Communities.” The goal: uplift the role of “inclusive, equitable, and connected communities in reducing sexual abuse, assault, and harassment.”

Here on the Saint Mary’s campus, students, faculty, and staff are coming together through a series of events to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. Events are led by CARE (Campus Assault Response and Education) and SCAAR (Student Coalition Against Abuse and Rape). Co-sponsors of events throughout the month include the Title IX Support & Compliance Office, the Center for Women & Gender Equity, Counseling & Psychological Services, liGHT: Gaels Against Human Trafficking, Residence Hall Association, and Sustainability.

Megan Gallagher—who directs CARE—and members of SCAAR have reached out to students, faculty, and staff to encourage broad participation. “As with programs we support throughout the year and throughout students’ time at Saint Mary’s, it’s crucial to build awareness,” Gallagher says. “That allows us to better address gender-based violence—to prevent it here in our community, and to empower students as they go out into the wider world.”

The week of April 15 kicks off with an opportunity to learn about Green Dot bystander intervention and the Gael Safe App, which includes a number of features to provide peace of mind and help keep members of the campus community safe. On April 17, members of the campus community are encouraged to wear denim as a show of support for survivors of sexual violence throughout the world. And on April 19, there’s an opportunity to take part in “Title IX & Beyond at SMC: Community Voices in Conversation.” 

The following week, on April 24, members of the Saint Mary’s community come together for Take Back the Night. Along with a light dinner, there will be an open mic opportunity and a candle-lit walk in support of survivors.

Events on Campus

With an eye toward providing counsel and advice for students as they headed off campus in March, events focused on Sexual Assault Awareness Month included a session a few weeks ago on “Safe Spring Break,” with tips on healthy relationships and watching your alcohol use. The event was co-hosted by SMC’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the Health & Wellness Center, the Center for Women & Gender Equity, and the CARE Center. 

Here’s what’s coming up in April:

Monday, April 15 | Green Dot and Gael Safe App Overview

2–3 p.m. | De La Salle Hall: Hagerty Lounge

Engage in bystander intervention training and learn more about tools on the Gael Safe App.


Wednesday, April 17 | Denim Day at Wake-Up Wednesday Event

9–11 a.m. | Dante Quad

In collaboration with Wake-up Wednesday, Denim Day is a day of action and awareness in which people are encouraged to wear denim to combat victim blaming and educate others about sexual violence. Wear your denim in support of survivors and post a photo with the hashtag #denimdaysmc.

All interested in stopping by can come to Dante Quad for treats from the Wake-Up Wednesday event and a look at the denim offerings from the Free Store.


Friday, April 19 | Title IX & Beyond at SMC: Community Voices in Conversation

1:30–2:30 p.m. | De La Salle Hall: Hagerty Lounge

Spend an hour with us to share your thoughts and ideas on the future of a violence-free campus at SMC. What are your visions for future resources? How do we best move forward in creating a campus culture of respect? Light refreshments will be served. Hosted by Campus Assault Response and Education (CARE), Student Coalition Against Abuse and Rape (SCAAR), and Title IX Support & Compliance Office.


Wednesday, April 24 | Take Back the Night

6:30–8 p.m. | Begin at Chapel Lawn 

Join CARE (Campus Assault Response and Education) and SCAAR (Student Coalition Against Abuse and Rape) for this annual evening event to support survivors of sexual violence.   

All interested can come to Chapel Lawn for a light dinner followed by an open mic opportunity and a candle-lit walk in support of survivors.


This Work Is Never Done

One of the realities of work on gender-based violence is that there is not a point where we can say, this is something where the work is done. Last year, in an effort to help eradicate sexual violence on campus and foster communities free of violence, the Saint Mary’s Men’s Rugby and Soccer teams adopted a new program called Coaching Leadership, Equity and Respect (CLEAR). Rugby coach Tim O’Brien and soccer coach Adam Cooper readily agreed to pilot the training when Megan Gallagher of the Campus Assault Response and Education (CARE) Center and Dr. Cynthia Cutshall of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offered it to all SMC athletics teams. 

And last August, Saint Mary’s brought on board Jess Varga as the College's first-ever full-time dedicated Title IX Coordinator. Title IX is a federal law that protects individuals against discrimination based on sex (including sexual harassment). Varga brought with her 20 years of higher education experience and set a goal to ensure that the Title IX Support and Compliance Office can be a resource for everyone to learn, ask questions, seek assistance, and be heard.

LEARN MORE about the CARE Center, the Student Coalition Against Abuse and Rape, and the Gael Safe App

Steven Boyd Saum is Executive Director of Strategic Communications & Content at Saint Mary's. Write him.