April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Georgia Regents University, in partnership with Paine College and Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services, a local nonprofit that provides services to victims of sexual assault, are planning several events to highlight campus and community awareness.
“We want people to attend all our events, but the big things are always the Take Back the Day 5K and the Take Back the Night Rally,” said Shannon Nix, a counselor and interpersonal violence outreach coordinator at GRU’s Counseling Center. “The 5K is a fundraiser for Rape Crisis, and all funds raised provide therapy for sexual assault survivors and their loved ones.”
Click here for the Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services website.
Participants in the 5K are encouraged to sign up online at active.com before April 16 to secure a complimentary T-shirt. The fee for runners is $25 in advance or $30 on the day of the race, which is Saturday, April 18. Student walkers are only $5. Faculty and staff walkers are $10.
One of the most entertaining aspects of the 5K is the “It’s on Us” run, which is part of a White House campaign designed to change the culture around campus sexual assault, where men take a quick jaunt around the amphitheater in women’s shoes.
And for those who want to participate in the 5K but might be leery about their conditioning, Nix stressed that this is the easiest 5K in Augusta.
“One of the big things we talk about is that it’s all downhill,” Nix said. “We start at GRU Summerville Campus and end up at University Hospital.”
Shuttles will be on hand to bring everyone back up the hill – except those walking or running with their dogs. They will have to walk back up the hill or find their own transportation back to Summerville, since dogs are not allowed on the shuttles.
Now in its 19th year, the Take Back the Night Rally on Thursday, April 23, celebrates the triumphs of survivors and raises the community’s awareness of sexual victimization of children, women, and men. Starting at 6 p.m., community agencies that work with sexual assault survivors will have informational tables. The speaking portion begins at 7 p.m. Speakers include District Attorney Ashley Wright and Judge Sheryl Jolly, with Dr. Mark Allen Poisel giving the special welcome. Then, after survivors talk about their healing, the evening ends with a candlelight march.
Other events include the Clothesline Project, where supporters and survivors make T-shirts, which will be displayed on the Summerville Campus for the week leading up to the Take Back the Night Rally, and a screening of “It Happened Here,” a film about college campus sexual assault.