JMU places flags on quad for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

JMU places flags on quad for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Flags representing the number of JMU students who have or will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. (Source: WHSV)

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. To show support for survivors, JMU Students Against Sexual Violence (SASV) has placed more than 6,500 blue flags in rows on the quad.

The flags represent the number of JMU students who have or will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. The organization has also given a platform on social media for survivors who wish to share their experiences.

At their last meeting, SASV also discussed a recent trend on TikTok claiming April 24 as “National Rape Day” and how they plan to address it.

“When you think about it, rape happens every single day, and this is a constant problem, and women are still gonna be afraid on that day, and they’re still gonna be afraid on April 25,” said Gray McDevitt, a JMU freshman and the head of consent education for SASV. “So we just see this as an overall problem, because if men are gonna be raping that day, they’re going to be raping any day.”

McDevitt adds that SASV has contacted JMU’s administration about the TikTok trend.

Since the coalition was formed in 2018, they have been giving survivors a voice and advocating for policy change, like getting rid of character statements for sexual assault cases at the university.

“People who experience sexual assault think of it daily. It’s their life, it’s there forever. And yes, this is just one month of us being extremely devoted to it, but we need to remember this is an everyday thing, and it is way more than just a month,” said JMU senior and SASV President Kinsey Watson.

The group says they plan to wear denim on April 28 to show survivors support.

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