As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Monday marked the start of the fifth annual It Affects Me campaign, which reminds students of the estimated 300 sexual assaults that take place in the UCSB community every year.
Co-sponsoring the weeklong event is campus organization Students Stopping Rape (SSR), members of which will be wearing their signature blue shirts emblazoned with “It Affects Me” while handing out pamphlets, helping host games such as “Guess the Rapist,” and even putting on a concert later in the week.
SSR Co-Coordinator and third-year communications and sociology major Katie Mahon said sexual assault is a more serious problem at UCSB than police records would suggest, as only about 5 percent of cases are reported. These statistics are similar throughout the country, she said.
“It’s estimated that there are between 300 and 500 cases of sexual assault each year [at UCSB],” she said. “There’s no way of knowing, because the cases don’t get reported to anyone. One in four women nationwide will be sexually assaulted by the time they graduate from college.”
Sexual assault is not limited to rape, Mahon said.
“Sexual assault is walking down [Del Playa Drive] and having someone grab your butt,” she said. “It’s guys catcalling from their balconies.”
As the group’s moniker implies, Mahon said SSR hopes to put a stop to an extremely common and often ignored crime.
“Our goal is to end sexual assault in the community and then the world,” she said. “The idea is that we educate students [and] the Isla Vista population about how sexual assault affects people. Everyone’s affected by it.”
Several other on-campus organizations, such as Men Against Rape and Queer Student Union, are also partaking in the weeklong campaign, Mahon said.
“Our main idea this year was to get other groups involved,” she said. “Last fall we had a meeting, that we invited about 20 groups to, called ‘It Affects Us’; then we invited them all back for this [year].”
The groups will table through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the Women’s Center lawn and pass out free T-shirts, pins, pencils and CDs. They will also be accepting donations for the campaign.
The campaign began yesterday with MUJER’s “Women of Juarez” presentation in the Women’s Center library and continues today with a workshop hosted by QSU at 3 p.m. in the Graduate Lounge. Men Against Rape’s “Guess the Rapist” presentation will also be held at 8 tonight in the Anacapa Residence Hall recreation room.
On Wednesday, the MultiCultural Center Theater will screen “NO!: The Rape Documentary” at 6 p.m.
Former Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson will speak in front of the Women’s Center during a rally from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, followed by a Medusa concert on Friday at 9 p.m. in the Hub. All events are free.
“We’re trying to get to the source of the problem,” Mahon said. “Fixing the source will be better than helping the problem after the fact.”