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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Project Safe hosts programming for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month programming featured a series of events in April, including a visit from Monica Lewinsky.
Zarrin Zahid
Graphic depicting teal ribbon as symbol of sexual assault awareness and prevention. (Hustler Multimedia/Zarrin Zahid)

Vanderbilt’s Project Safe Center for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response hosted a series of educational seminars, skill-building programs and other events to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month throughout April. SAAM programming began with a SAAM Kick-Off on April 3 and concluded its final webinar on April 24. 

The 24 events during April centered on the theme “Building Connected Communities,” as set by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Project Safe, Greek Life and the Student Health Center hosted self-defense training, a panel on sexual health, lantern decorating and other activities during their Block Party on April 3

“Like other observance months, SAAM provides an opportunity to raise awareness, support survivors and encourage individual reflection on the ways in which they might be able to positively change culture,” Project Safe Director Cara Tuttle said. “We try to offer a variety of programs and collaborate with many campus partners so that there is something of relevance for everybody.”

Vanderbilt Student Government hosted Monica Lewinsky, an American activist and writer, to discuss public shaming, healing and anti-bullying advocacy in Langford Auditorium on April 10. The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Committee, chaired by junior Ellie Kearns, took the lead in planning this event.

“I hope our event serves two main populations — survivors of trauma and those who are unintentionally perpetrating harm,” Kearns said. “I hope that survivors feel supported and that those who do not feel comfortable accessing on-campus services feel as though attending our event contributed to their healing journey.”

Project Safe hosted one of their largest annual programs, The Survivor Speak Out, on April 16 in Alumni Hall. At this event, survivors met with Vanderbilt students and shared their stories of how the violence they experienced impacted their lives. Project Safe and the University Counseling Center were present to provide support as needed.

“I think it’s easy for us as students to say we care about sexual and relationship violence prevention, but few students truly understand the gravity of the issue,” Kearns said. “Survivors are not just a statistic. We are your friends, your classmates, your neighbors.”

RSVP committee member and senior Makala Desargent described the events as “informative and enlightening.”

“I hope that students were able to receive more education and awareness about gender-based violence and especially sexual violence,” Desargent said. “[The events] helped broaden my awareness and perspectives as to how I as a human being should talk about these topics, and I hope students took that away.”

Tuttle said Project Safe employees are passionate about their work despite the tough topics addressed through their programs.

“The month gives us increased visibility and engagement, and there are events that amplify survivor voices and hopefully provide a sense of support to the people in our Vanderbilt community who have had or are going through these types of incidents and issues,” Tuttle said.

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About the Contributors
Sae-Eun Lee
Sae-Eun Lee, Staff Writer
Sae-Eun Lee is from Atlanta and is majoring in human and organizational development and Asian studies. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her hanging out with friends and family, watching K-Dramas or traveling. She can be reached at [email protected].
Jacob Stoebner
Jacob Stoebner, News Editor
Jacob Stoebner ('26) is from Franklin, Tenn., and is majoring in biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering. When not writing for The Hustler, you can usually find him running, hiking in parks around Nashville or reading. He can be reached at [email protected].
Zarrin Zahid
Zarrin Zahid, Staff Writer and Graphics Staffer
Zarrin Zahid (‘26) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in law, history and society and minoring in Islamic studies. Besides The Hustler, she enjoys writing stories, cooking and watching bad horror movies unironically. She can be reached at [email protected].

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