PCC recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness Month with support and action
Photos and Story by James Hill
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Portland Community College is recognizing this call to awareness with this calendar of activities that support the initiative. Events include training opportunities, creating art to support survivors and a film screening.
“PCC stands in solidarity with survivors and individuals harmed by sexual violence in our community,” stated PCC President Mark Mitsui. “We stand in advocacy partnership with local and national organizations as we explore ways to change our culture and bring awareness to this important issue.”
It is an important recognition and month of action. Sexual violence can have many detrimental impacts for those harmed, including increased challenges completing educational goals, higher medical costs due to chronic health concerns and significant losses of lifetime income earnings (CDC National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2011).
Additionally, students with one or more marginalized identities experience sexual violence at higher rates than their peers. PCC is committed to responding to and preventing sexual violence as an integral part of supporting equitable student success at the college.
“Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an important opportunity to raise up and highlight an issue that impacts many of our students,” said Caroline Bartlett, program coordinator of the college’s Outreach & Advocacy Project. “If a student has been harmed by sexual violence, whether its ongoing sexual harrassment that is making a class feel unsafe or a past sexual assault – this type of violence can be detrimental to achieving academic goals. The impact of violence is only worsened when a student is not believed or blamed for their experiences.
“Staff from across PCC are organizing awareness events and gathering remotely to learn more about this topic in order to shift culture and better support students who have experienced harm,” she continued. “This includes unpacking how systemic oppression such as racism and transphobia creates environments where sexual violence goes unseen.”
In addition to uplifting Sexual Assault Awareness Month, PCC staff is honoring May 5, which is Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women’s and Relatives Day with an event hosted by Luhui Whitebear, who is an enrolled member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation and the Assistant Director of the Oregon State University Native American Longhouse Eena Haws. She completed her Ph.D. in spring 2020 through the Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at OSU. She also received her bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies, a second degree in Anthropology and a master’s of arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (WGSS, Ethnic Studies, and Queer Studies focus), all from OSU. She is a mother, poet, and Indigenous activist.
The event is from 2-4 p.m., on Wednesday, May 5. Registration for livestream link at: pccmmiw2021.eventbrite.com.
Find all of the scheduled activities here: https://www.pcc.edu/advocacy/sexual-assault-awareness-month-saam/
And, if you or someone you know has been harmed by sexual violence, visit the advocacy webpage for PCC-specific, confidential support resources. Or call the Oregon hotline at 503-235-5333. Services are provided in the caller’s preferred language and are available 24 hours a day.