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Sexual assault awareness is focus of April 11-15 events

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Melissa Osgood

Kate Harding, author of “Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture – and What We Can Do About It,” will speak Monday, April 11, at 6 p.m. in Kennedy Hall’s Call Alumni Auditorium.

Her talk is part of Cornell’s second annual Sexual Assault Awareness Week, organized entirely by students, in collaboration with staff from Student and Campus Life. All events are free and open to the public.

The title of Harding’s book confronts one of the persistent myths about rape: that women who are raped must have consciously or subconsciously “asked for it.” Harding also writes about the ways in which rape is pervasive in American culture, the differences between rape and consensual sex, and the misguided attitude that “boys will be boys” and it is the girl’s responsibility to say “no.”

“The series of events builds each day to address the campus climate, who’s at risk, any gaps in current policies and how we can create a better, safer environment,” says Kendall Grant, one of the student organizers of Sexual Assault Awareness Week and former president of the Panhellenic Council. “Our hope is that as many students as possible come away with greater knowledge, awareness and empathy after this week.”

Other events scheduled for the week, sponsored by a number of Cornell organizations and departments, include an “Art for Awareness Performance Showcase,” April 12, 8-9:30 p.m. at the Nines; a discussion of sexual assault in the LGBTQ+ community, April 16 at 1 p.m. in B21, Anabel Taylor Hall; and a conversation with survivor and activist Kylie Angell on Title IX and policy, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. in Physical Sciences Building’s Clark Atrium.

Angell was featured in a documentary film by Emmy Award winner Lisa F. Jackson, “It Happened Here,” which provides personal portraits of women students from Amherst College, Vanderbilt University and the University of Connecticut subsequent to their reporting sexual assault.

Additional events can be found on the event’s web site.

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Nancy Doolittle