UMaine Machias events planned for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in April

MACHIAS, Maine — In April, the University of Maine at Machias, in partnership with Aroostook Mental Health Services Inc.’s (AMHC)’s Sexual Assault Services and NextStep Domestic Violence Project, will hold events to raise awareness about sexual assault and prevention.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s 2024 theme, Building Connected Communities, “focuses on addressing social and structural factors that impact the way people live, learn, work and play in order to prevent and end sexual violence,” according to the center’s website.

In the U.S., every 68 seconds someone is sexually assaulted, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). Also, according to RAINN, “One out of every six women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, and one out of every 33 rape victims are male.” For college students, 21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted compared to 18% of non-TGQN females and 4% of non-TGQN males. Indigenous individuals who are ages 12 and older experience 5,900 sexual assaults per year and in FY 2018, it was reported that 6.2% of active duty women and 0.7% of active duty men in the military experienced sexual assault.

UMaine Machias Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month events include The Clothesline Project from April 1-30, and the Take Back the Night Rally/March on April 17.  

The Clothesline Project will be displayed in Merrill Library during Sexual Violence Awareness Month and in October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Clothesline Project is a visual display that bears witness to people who have experienced sexual and relationship violence. During the public display, a clothesline is hung with shirts. Each shirt is decorated to represent a particular person’s experience, by the survivor or someone who cares about them. 

The Take Back the Night Rally/March will begin at 6 p.m. in room 102 of the Science Building. This worldwide event is an effort to end sexual violence, support survivors and remember those who have died as a result of sexual violence. The event involves educating attendees about the history of Take Back the Night, sexual assault statistics and support services available for those who have been sexually assaulted. The speak-out portion of the rally offers survivors of violence the opportunity to share their experiences. The march helps raise awareness in communities through the use of signs, t-shirts, chanting and other means of communication. The candlelight vigil is to remember those who have lost their lives to sexual violence. The march will follow the rally leaving from the Science Building, proceeding to the Machias Chamber of Commerce and conclude with a candlelight vigil at the Bad Little Falls park. 

These events are open to the public. For more information or to request reasonable accommodation, call 207.255.1343.