Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Join the Columbia community for a host of awareness, education, and advocacy events aimed at preventing sexual violence and fostering a respectful community.

Click the event name for more information:

 


There is no place for sexual assault in our community. Together, we must support survivors through their healing journey, amplify the voices and conversations of communities who have been left out of the discussion, reinforce a sense of community, and come together to build a future without sexual assault.


 

Events

Sexual Violence Response (SVR) is sponsoring the following virtual events on issues related to sexual assault awareness. Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.

Columbia University makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Please notify us in advance if you require closed captioning, sign-language interpretation, or any other disability accommodations. Alternatively, Disability Services can be reached at 212-854-2388 and disability@columbia.edu.

15th Annual Clery Lecture Series: Navigating Relationships and Sex During COVID

Tuesday, April 6, 7:30PM - 9:00PM ET. Please register on Zoom.

Join us for the 15th Annual Jeanne Clery Lecture Series. This much needed conversation will feature renowned sex educators, Francisco Ramirez and Bianca Laureano, in discussion around how to best navigate relationships and sex during this significant moment in our collective history. 

Together, we will explore communication strategies for strengthening our relationships, what consent looks like – both in person and from a distance, ways to promote respect, and how to take care of our mental health during this challenging time.

Speaker bios

Bianca Laureano, PhD, MA2, CSES is an award-winning educator and sexologist. She is a founding member of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN) and her most recent project is ANTE UP! a virtual freedom school offering professional development and certification. She has written several curricula and is the lead writer for the Netflix film Crip Camp’s curriculum rooted in disability justice principles. She is an AASECT certified sexuality educator and supervisor, and in May 2020 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the California Institute for Integral Studies for her work in expanding the US sexuality field. Find out more about Bianca at her website BiancaLaureano.com and learn more about ANTE UP! at www.AnteUpPD.com.

Francisco Ramirez, MPH (@FranciscoNYC) talks about sex, all the time. He is an award-winning sexuality educator, tech founder, and college speaker. He holds a Master of Public Health and has worked at the UN since 2005, talking about sex everywhere from Afghanistan to Uganda. Ramirez is a host on MTV and NPR, and recently released OkaySo, a smartphone app connecting young people to sexperts. Most recently, he co-starred in “Sex Probz” on The Cut, and served as Vice President at Planned Parenthood. For the past 10 years, he has put out two chairs and a sign that reads “Free Sex Advice” in New York City parks and subways. Learn more at: FranciscoRamirez.com.

The Jeanne Clery Lecture Series was established by Constance Clery BC ’53 and Howard Clery, Jr. in memory of their daughter, Jeanne Clery.

Barnard College provides reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. If you need individual disability-related accommodations for this event in order to be able to attend, we encourage you to inform us in advance in order for us to accommodate you. Possible accommodations can include real-time captioning, ASL interpretation, Braille handouts, wheelchair accessibility and more. Specific individual requests can be made via our event registration form/ RSVP form or by filling out the Event Accessibility Request Form.

Couch Conversations: 10 Questions with SVR Advocates

Wednesday, April 7, 4:00PM - 5:30PM ET. Please register on Zoom.

Couch conversations is a 90-minute virtual roundtable discussion with survivor advocates at Sexual Violence Response. Get comfortable on your couch/sofa/chair and listen in as we discuss the multifaceted roles of an advocate, including what it means to provide trauma-informed care and advocacy.

As a bonus, get to know us as we give you a tiny glimpse into our lives outside of work. We'll share some of our favorite podcasts, shows, books, and more!

Speaker bios

Charlene A. Bernasko is the Violence Prevention Educator for the Sexual Violence Response Office, beginning in December of 2019. Charlene comes to Sexual Violence Response with a commitment to providing trauma-informed care in anti-violence work. She has extensive years of experience working with and supporting survivors of intimate partner violence, family violence, childhood sexual abuse, forced marriage, and sexual assault and violence.

Prior to relocating to New York for her graduate studies, Charlene was a registered/licensed Social Service Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). During her 6 years as a licensed social service worker, Charlene worked in various capacities in residential and community settings with survivors who have experienced a spectrum of violence and abuse. Charlene brings relevant experience in the fields of trauma and violence, social activism, prevention through community awareness and capacity building and crisis intervention. Her background includes providing 24-hour crisis hotline support, providing individual psychotherapy, creating and facilitating group psychotherapy, trainings and workshops, crisis response and counseling, and advocacy for survivors of violence.

Charlene has experience in international anti-violence work, having worked with childhood sexual violence, forced marriage and working with spiritual/religious and traditional values in counseling, in Manzini, Swaziland (now Eswatini). In 2015, she worked in partnership with Crossroads International Canada and Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA), a non-governmental organization that has been working for almost 30 years to end gender-based violence (GBV), sexual abuse and human trafficking in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), where she participated in staff capacity building through collaborative training.

Charlene first joined the Sexual Violence Response team in 2018 as an administrative intern while also pursuing her M.A. and Ed.M. degree in Psychological Counseling and Mental Health Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University. During her time as a graduate intern, Charlene participated in discussions about sexual violence on college campuses, and spoke at campus awareness events such as Denim Day. Charlene is currently working on her New York State Department of Health Certified Rape Crisis Counselor Certificate. She is an avid learner and she is passionate about demystifying, empowering, and supporting survivors and community action for social change.

 

Jose Carval joined the SVR team as the Assistant Director of Direct Services in June of 2020. He has been doing power based personal violence (PBPV) intervention and prevention work for 6+ years. Prior to coming to Columbia, Jose spent 5 years at Florida State University coordinating campus-wide prevention education for PBPV and advising student organizations focused on advocacy and prevention.

Prior to FSU, Jose spent 2+ years providing technical assistance and training to victim advocates with the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. Jose centers his work on providing access to equitable services that are identity informed to support survivors of color, LGBTQI+ survivors. He also has a research interest in masculinity and male survivors.

He received his Bachelor's in International Affairs from Florida State University and is in the process of completing his Master's in Higher Education. In his spare time, Jose enjoys music, sports, bad puns and spending quality time with his dog and best friend, Abbey.

Danielle Louis is a Survivor Advocate in the Sexual Violence Response Office, joining the team in June of 2020. Prior to functioning in the capacity of an advocate, Danielle was an Administrative Intern for Sexual Violence Response for one year. Throughout her internship, she participated in many prevention and advocacy events throughout the University and local community. This allowed for her to gain extensive knowledge and experience surrounding survivorship, advocacy, and how to build collaborative relationships with community partners. 

Currently, Danielle is a Mental Health Counseling graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she has completed experiential coursework training her for proficiency in Group therapy and Individual Therapy, Military Psychology, diagnosis of child, adolescent and adult psychopathology, and Career Development. Danielle earned her undergraduate BA in Psychology from Queens University of Charlotte and an AAS in Emergency Medical Science, which she used to serve a metropolitan community for seven years as an EMT-Paramedic.

Danielle is currently working on her New York State Department of Health Certified Rape Crisis Counselor Certificate.

Emma Reynolds is a Survivor Advocate at Sexual Violence Response, having first joined the team in 2015 as an administrative intern while also pursuing her MFA in Fiction from Columbia’s School of the Arts. During her nearly four years as a graduate intern, Emma participated in panel discussions about sexual assault on college campuses, co-created and co-facilitated workshops on how to address sexual violence in creative writing, and spoke at campus awareness events such as Denim Day. In the spring of 2016, she certified as a volunteer Peer Advocate and spent two years in that capacity, taking regular on-call shifts and responding to the Sexual Violence Response helpline. Emma became a full-time staff advocate in March of 2019.

In addition to her work with Sexual Violence Response, Emma completed Bellevue Hospital’s Patient Advocacy training program and has experience in international advocacy, having worked with survivors of childhood sexual assault, forced marriage, honor-based violence, and nonconsensual pornography. In 2018, she completed an internship with Taman Baca Kesiman, a social justice NGO in Bali where she supported events aimed to raise public awareness on topics such as political violence, sex work, LGBTQ+ rights, and human rights abuses in minority and underserved communities.

Radical Listening and Resilience

Tuesday, April 13, 7:00PM to 8:00PM ET. Email to register.

Join SVR for a narrative medicine session especially designed to center resilience and growth.

Guided by facilitators Kris Slezar and Mario de la Cruz, participants will explore creativity and reflection as tools for both radical listening and self-care.

This session is open to all students of the CUIMC campus.

Unpacking the Man Box: Reimagining Masculine Norms

Wednesday, April 14, 4:00PM to 5:30PM ET. Please register on Zoom.

Join SVR as we sit down in conversation with experts in the field of men’s engagement around thriving masculinities, the anti-violence movement, and male-identified survivorship.

We will explore the man box at the intersection of identity, grapple with the meaning of ‘healthy’ and ‘thriving' masculinities, and delve into the nuance and complexity of male-identified individuals of various positionalities who experience harm.

Speaker bios

Jose Carval joined the SVR team as the Assistant Director of Direct Services in June of 2020. He has been doing power based personal violence (PBPV) intervention and prevention work for 6+ years. Prior to coming to Columbia, Jose spent 5 years at Florida State University coordinating campus-wide prevention education for PBPV and advising student organizations focused on advocacy and prevention.

Prior to FSU, Jose spent 2+ years providing technical assistance and training to victim advocates with the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. Jose centers his work on providing access to equitable services that are identity informed to support survivors of color, LGBTQI+ survivors. He also has a research interest in masculinity and male survivors.

He received his Bachelor's in International Affairs from Florida State University and is in the process of completing his Master's in Higher Education. In his spare time, Jose enjoys music, sports, bad puns and spending quality time with his dog and best friend, Abbey.

Ernesto Lira de la Rosa joined Columbia Health in 2019. He completed his pre-doctoral internship at NYC Health and Hospitals Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn and worked with adults and children/adolescents in the outpatient clinic, mobile crisis team, and the pride health center. Prior to joining Columbia, he worked as a Psychologist in the Chemical Dependency Division and in the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) at Woodhull Medical Center.

He received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and trained in diverse settings, such as hospitals, community health centers, and nonprofits that provided mental health services to survivors of sexual abuse, veterans, racial and ethnic minorities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. His professional interests include, trauma-related disorders, anxiety and depression, substance abuse, acculturation, first generation college students, racial and ethnic identity development, as well as sexual and gender identity development. In his clinical work, Ernesto draws from various approaches and strives to create a warm, supportive, and collaborative environment where healing and growth can take place.

Quentin Walcott, co-executive director of CONNECT, is a leading national and international anti-violence activist, educator and writer. A hallmark of Quentin’s work over the past 22 years has been engaging men and boys as allies and activists in the movement to prevent intimate and gender-based violence. The foundation of Quentin’s work is a focus on the intersections of violence—race and gender—and its impact on marginalized communities.

Quentin is one of the U.S leaders selected by the NoVo Foundation to participate in its groundbreaking Move to End Violence initiative, a 10-year program to strengthen the movement to end gender-based violence in the United States. He is co-founder and chief organizer of the NYC & National Father’s Day Pledge Against Violence, an annual event established in 2010 and which is observed in 50+ U.S. cities. Quentin was a speaker at the first White House United State of Women Summit (2016) on gender equality, and shared the dais with TV actor and activist Matt McGorry.

Quentin has participated in international anti-violence forums and led training in Brazil, Canada, Fiji, France, India, Kenya, Saint Martin, South Africa, Switzerland and Thailand.

This event is co-sponsored by CONNECT NYC.

Developed with support from SVR's Men's Engagement Task Force, comprised of staff, administrators and faculty across Columbia University and affiliate schools.

Turn Up The Volume on Chanel Miller

Friday, April 16, 1:45PM to 3:15PM ET. Register on the University Events calendar.

Emily Doe, the woman sexually assaulted on Stanford University’s campus in 2016, was unknown to the world until she wrote a victim impact statement that went viral. In her recently published memoir, Chanel Miller comes forward as that powerful voice, reclaiming her name, identity, and narrative while pushing us to question our views on how and what we understand of the experience and impacts of sexual violence.

Our virtual headliner event will include opening remarks from Dr. Melanie Bernitz, Senior Vice President, Columbia Health, a reading and talk by Chanel Miller, and will be moderated by La’Shawn Rivera, Executive Director, Columbia Health Sexual Violence Response.

“Know My Name” was chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, TIME, Elle, Glamour, Parade, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Book Riot, among others. “Know My Name” is available for purchase at the Columbia Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

“To tell her story at all is enough…the fact that Miller tells it beautifully, caring enough for her reader to spin golden sentences from her pain, is a gift on top of a gift.” -Vogue

For more information on this speaker, please visit prhspeakers.com.

This event was developed with funding provided by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), Division of Family Health.  Its contents are solely the responsibility of Columbia University and do not necessarily represent the official views of NYSDOH.

Peace and Presence: Movement Medicine 

Peace & Presence is a mindfulness series of diverse holistic wellness workshops for student survivors and co-survivors of sexual trauma. These sessions will explore non-verbal and experiential healing techniques, self-calming tools, and guide participants in incorporating mindfulness into your daily lives.

This Movement Medicine webinar is a virtual setting for survivors and co-survivors to move from their headspace into full-bodied presence through awareness of our breath, gentle stretches, and guided/free movement. By incorporating mindfulness and movement therapy practices, participants will learn tools to support the body, process emotions and trauma, and release stress.

The class is open to all levels of movement. Throughout the workshop, soft and fast instrumental music will be played in the background. Instructor Renk Koctruk will be sharing affirmations, invitational language, and choice-making opportunities to bring participants closer to making decisions about their body.

NOTE: This event will be held via Zoom webinar. Cameras and sound for participants are turned off during the session.

Register for a workshop:


 

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Apply as a peer educator or peer advocate.

Spread the word on social media.

Share SVR's Facebook posts throughout April or post your own!