The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 22, 2013

MSSU students to raise awareness of sexual assault

JOPLIN, Mo. — Several events are planned at Missouri Southern State University this week in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

Events scheduled for Tuesday include the sale of 50-cent “blue drinks,” which is a mixed-berry flavored drink, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Lion’s Den inside Billingsly Student Center. All proceeds will go to Lafayette House in Joplin.

Organizers will simultaneously host a clothespin project, in which participants can hang a colored clothespin on a rope inside the Lion’s Den in honor of someone who has been a victim of sexual violence. Taylor Camden, a freshman at MSSU and one of the organizers, said there are different colored clothespins to represent varying types of sexual assault.

A Bingo game will begin at noon Tuesday in the Lion’s Den; prizes will be given to winners.

On Wednesday, the sale of “blue drinks” and the clothespin project will continue from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Lion’s Den.

There will also be a relay race at noon on the campus oval in which men will have a chance to “walk in her shoes,” Camden said. Participants will race in high heels while spinning a hula hoop around themselves, she said.

On Thursday, 15 percent of proceeds from University Java, a coffeeshop located on the first floor of Spiva Library, will be donated in food items to the Lafayette House.

The week will end with a “Take Back the Night” rally at 7 p.m. Thursday on the campus oval. Camden said the rally will include several guest speakers from Lafayette House and the community. There will also be “speakout sessions,” during which anyone is invited to share their stories or the stories of people they know.

“We all are there to kind of symbolize the pain that that person has gone through,” Camden said.

Camden said organizers worked closely with Lafayette House to organize the annual week of events.

“Really our main goal is to get the word out there (about sexual violence) and get as much help to the Lafayette House as we possibly can” she said. “Every penny really helps the people who have to go there.”

The week’s events, which are open to the public, are hosted by members of the local Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is recognized in the United States as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

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