Events planned to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month
The staff and volunteers of Women’s Resource Center want the community to know who they are and what they do.
During April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness month, WRC has planned events to promote its plight as well as educate the community on sexual violence against women and men. WRC crisis and advocate services director Anna Faramelli said that, while the organization has always commemorated Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this year it wanted to try to reach as many people as it can.
“We want everyone to feel comfortable approaching us and talking about it,” Faramelli said, adding the organization serves Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties.
During Scranton’s First Friday Art Walk on April 5, the art installation “What Were You Wearing?” will be on display from 5 to 8 p.m. at Elm Park United Methodist Church, 712 Linden St. The exhibit displays 18 outfits hanging next to 18 rape survivors’ stories about what they were wearing while they were attacked.
At Lackawanna County Courthouse Square, participants can paint rocks teal — the color associated with sexual assault awareness — along with words or messages of support.
Talking about these issues can be uncomfortable, executive director Peg Ruddy said, but the events make the subject accessible.
“They’re positive events, and they kind of take away that stigma,” she said. “These conversations can be difficult, and having this kind of outreach makes it easier.”
Aside from the events on First Friday, WRC has a host of other activities planned throughout the month.
On Thursday, April 4, at 4 p.m., WRC will partner with the Marywood University Graduate School of Social Work Association and the Human Trafficking Awareness & Prevention Committee for a screening of “I Am Jane Doe” in Room B in the Swartz Conference Centre for Spiritual Life at Marywood. A question-and-answer panel will follow with representatives from WRC, Marywood and Penn
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will host WRC Night on Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Twp. Of every ticket sold, $4 will be donated to WRC.
And on Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m., people can bring their dogs to Zummo’s Cafe, 916 Marion St., Scranton, for a Yappy Hour. They also are asked to donate an item for WRC hospital bags, which go to local hospitals for victims of sexual assault after their clothing has been collected as evidence. Items to donate include T-shirts, pants, socks, intimate appeal and personal hygiene items.
On Wednesday, April 24, the community is asked to wear denim in a campaign that began when women of the Italian parliament came to work wearing jeans to protest an overturned rape conviction where the survivor was wearing jeans. The justices felt that, since the survivor wore tight jeans when she was attacked, she must have helped her rapist remove them, implying consent.
WRC and its staff want women and men to know the services are out there if they need them. The month-long schedule of events serves as a way for community members to learn about the importance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and show support to survivors.
“It really does take the whole community to end sexual violence against women and men,” Ruddy said. “So the diversity of these events reaches so many people and maybe community members that we would not be able to interact with otherwise.”